The current NBA lockout hasn’t stopped pro players from playing competitive organized basketball this summer. All over the country, NBA players have taken their talents to community courts and recreation centers, and even linking up with amateur pro summer leagues, such as the George C. Goodman League in Washington, D.C. or the Drew League in Los Angeles, Calif.

Baltimore City proved no exception, hosting its fair share of pro basketball action with a few NBA players randomly participating in the Carmelo Anthony Summer League at the Carmelo Anthony Youth Development Center, also known as the MELO Center.

Washington Wizards’ point guard John Wall is dominating blog headlines all over the Web after making his debut at the MELO Center on July 28. captured the 2010 No. 1 overall NBA draft pick on video as he easily outperformed lesser talented players, crossing-and-dashing his way through defenders to the basket.

Just a week before Wall’s appearance, NBA guards’ Brandon Jennings and Josh Selby also made their way to the MELO Center, putting on a show for youths and other locals looking-on. Baltimore native Selby had had random appearances in the Carmelo Anthony League before, but this year’s appearance was far more exciting to watch as he exchanged buckets back-and-forth with Jennings in what called “the battle of the summer.”

But while basketball players take over the center’s gym at night, its youth camp that occupies the center during the day.

Located at 1100 E. Fayette Street, the MELO Center has been open since 2006, seven days a week, serving mostly youths that live in low-income and less privileged neighborhoods of Baltimore City. According to the Carmelo Anthony Foundation website,, the Carmelo Anthony Youth Development Center was created through a partnership between his foundation, the Living Classrooms Foundation, and the Housing Authority of Baltimore City. Anthony is reported to have contributed more than $1.5 million to reopen the Youth Development Center, a 29,000 square foot facility that had been shut down for years.

There, youths are exposed to education, career and character development, health and life skills, arts, and sports/recreation.

“Him opening up the center meant more than just the center opening, but him opening up his heart,” said Valencia Warnock, who works at the center, according to “We’ve been appreciative of that.”