'Old-school' Carmelo Anthony tunes up for NBA playoffs with some Frank Sinatra

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The first round of the NBA playoffs begin tomorrow with a 3 p.m. showdown between the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks. The Knicks — who secured the second seed in the Eastern Conference — had their best regular season in 15 years, due in no small part to Carmelo Anthony, the NBA’s leading scorer. We’ll leave the more intricate hoops talk to the experts, but EW caught up with Anthony to ask about his must-see-TV, what’s on heavy rotation on his iPod, and the last movie he saw with his son. (Hint: a different kind of ballgame).

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What kind of music do you like to listen to before a big game?
CARMELO ANTHONY:
I try to put my iPod on shuffle. But I try not to listen to real upbeat music — I try to stay mellow. I’m around a lot of athletes and everyone has their headphones on. I’m always trying to figure out what everyone is listening to. And you can tell a lot about a person’s personality in their choice in music. Before a game, some people have it turned all the way up, super loud, super hype. And some people like to go super mellow to stay quiet and focused.

I’d assume that you’d want something to pump you up, like the “The Eye of the Tiger” or something.
Some days! [Laughs] But it’s a long season, you know? For me, I pretty much always pick laid-back kinds of things to listen to so that I can relax and focus. I’m a big oldies-but-goodies guy. I listen to Frank Sinatra a lot — I put on Best of Frank Sinatra and let him go. He’s the best. The best. 

Is that the kind of music you grew up listening to?
My family always used to listen to that type of music — we listened to the oldies a lot. Saturday mornings while cleaning or something, we’d put the music on and clean up and just be grooving. That rubbed off on me a little… or maybe a lot since now I can’t do anything without listening to music.

What about newer artists? Do you have other things that you tend to listen to a lot?
I’m a big Nas fan — I have Nas albums in heavy rotation — and I’m a big Jay-Z fan, too. I think The Blueprint might be one of my favorite albums of all time. Illmatic too. It all depends on the day, really. One day I might listen to Nas all day long, and another day I’ll listen just to Jay-Z. Sometimes it’s R. Kelly, sometimes it’s Rakim. It all really depends on my mood.

Is there anything on your iPod that would surprise people?
Oh…[laughs]. I’m real old school when it comes to music. I have an awful lot of old-school stuff. I got Barry White, Luther Vandross, Frankie Beverly and Maze, Atlantic Starr, L.T.D., Percy Sledge, Jerry Butler. I can go waaaay back. [Laughs.] For hip-hop, I go back too: Whodini, Kid ‘n Play, Run D.M.C., Big Daddy Kane. I go back to the beginning. I have an old soul — everybody always tells me that.

Do you have time to catch up on movies and TV?
I’m always traveling so it’s hard. A lot of the things that I watch during the season [are shows] that I can catch up on when I’m in the hotel. The last thing I got into was Sons of Anarchy. That is one of my favorite shows ever. The other ones I watch are The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, and Game of Thrones — I watch it every Sunday. I do get out to the movies. I saw Olympus Has Fallen and G.I. Joe, and I just took my son [Kiyan Carmelo Anthony, 6] to see 42 yesterday.

Did he like it?
He loved it. It was his idea to go. He came up to me last week and was like, ‘Dad, can I go see 42?’ I asked if he was sure and he said, “Yes, I want to go see Jackie Robinson.”

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