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Carmelo Anthony meets with Prince Harry, wants to play Thursday

Carmelo Anthony, left, joins Prince Harry at the

Carmelo Anthony, left, joins Prince Harry at the Coach Core graduation ceremony in London. Credit: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

LONDON - Carmelo Anthony doesn't feel like the Prince of New York right now, but he got the royal treatment across the pond Wednesday.

Anthony spent part of the morning at St. James Palace with Prince Harry for the Royal Foundation's Coach Core graduation ceremony. The program's aim is to inspire young people from disadvantaged communities through sports. In a season where little has gone right for the Knicks, this was a highlight for Anthony.

"An honor, an honor, a beautiful moment," Anthony said. "It was a spectacular day for me to be around those kids and the Prince as well.

"I never thought I would meet the Prince."

Anthony wouldn't divulge what they discussed, but it was a welcome break from the reality of the Knicks' 5-35 season and his own health troubles.

"It's royalty," Anthony said. "You can feel it. When you come to London, when you come over here, you can feel the royalty. So for me to be able to be right there in front of that, you sense that, you feel that, you get that energy, that vibe, you get that royal feeling."

It sounds like Anthony will return for Thursday's game against the Bucks at O2 Arena. He has missed the past six games with a left knee injury that likely will require surgery.

But Anthony, who helped the U.S. team win gold in London in the 2012 Olympics, said he doesn't want to miss this game and he hopes he doesn't have to shut it down any time soon.

"This is London, man, we don't get these chances often," Anthony said. "So for me to be able to try to push myself and at least get back out there on the court [tonight], I'm looking forward to that. Hopefully I can do that, but once I'm back, it's not just about London. If I play [tonight], then I'm going to continue."

Anthony led the Knicks to a win here over the Pistons two seasons ago. But he returns in such a different place.

The Knicks were in the midst of 54-win campaign then, which earned them the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. Only Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Pablo Prigioni remain from that team.

Now the Knicks have the worst record in the NBA and are trying to snap a franchise-record 15-game losing streak. But Anthony is trying to maintain a positive outlook.

"I'm still standing," Anthony said. "I'm still standing strong. I'm still being able to sit here and keep a smile on my face and kind of get through this moment and kind of sit and look at this.

"I know it's some hard moments to enjoy, but I have to get through these and try to enjoy these moments because at the end of the day, one day I can look back at this and say this is all part of it."

Phil Jackson already has started tearing down the team and promised more moves to come as he continues to rebuild. Anthony has said he will be a recruiter this summer when the Knicks make their pitches to free agents.

For now, Anthony is focused on playing Thursday, and maybe with his new royal friend, Prince Harry, in the building.

"He said he wants to [be here]," Anthony said. "He will try. If not, I understand. He's a busy man."

New York Sports