Prison appealed to Melvin Anthony and his teenage peers. It may have held the dregs of humanity, but it also held the promise of a big bad physique. Melvin confesses, "I'm a product of the city, and where I come from, which is the lower-middle-class neighborhoods of Sacramento and Riverside, California, if a guy was big, he that way in prison. We were told that all they do in there is lift weights, so we naturally assumed that if we wanted to get big, we'd have to go to prison.
"most people to reps until they feel the pump stop. That's ridiculous."
"Having the best body in the neighborhood was important. It gave you bragging rights. Life was very competitive, and everybody, in order to survive, had to have some sort of bragging rights. If you were a better basketball player that the next guy, you got bragging rights. If you were the biggest bad-ass, you got bragging rights. They didn't hate you for it; they just knew that you were the bomb. You could talk smack, but you could back it up too. You had bragging rights.
"That's all we saw, and that's all we thought about. No matter what it took, you had to earn those bragging rights. Lots of my childhood friends are still out there doing their thing, still drinking beer, doing drugs; and lots of others are dead. One of my friends got shot in the head, trying to get his bragging rights."
At 13, Melvin was peering over the abyss into the most dangerous and impressionable period of life, when along came strong, the theophany that altered Melvin's destiny. Melvin didn't know Strong's real name. He only knew that Strong had never been to prison, yet was bigger than most of the guys who had; and strong had an eye for genetics. Spying Melvin, he barked, "Hey, kid, you got a physique, man. You can do it. All you need is the discipline to get yourself into the right gym, eat right and train right."
Throughout high school, weight training kept Melvin in check. If there was a hot party on a Saturday night at six o'clock, he'd be in the gym at two o'clock, then go drink his beer or hand out and have his party. His weight training always came first.
By the he was 18, Melvin was built solidly enough to earn a football scholarship at San Bernardino Valley College, never having played football in his life- not in Pop Warner and not in high school. All he did to earn his scholarship was try out in midterm.
Hs penchant, though, was not football; its physical investment was misappropriated. "I didn't like to take the pounding," he admits, so a kinder and gentler Melvin let his fingers do the walking through other career options and now he proudly flashes his license as a registered manicurist. "I do nails," he says.
Not that he stopped the pounding altogether. As he explains, "I wanted to give the pounding, so I starting doing that to the weights."
Bodybuilding Titles Won
2002 Night of Champions XIV, 8th
2001 European Pro, 8th
2001 Grand Prix England, 6th
2001 British Grand Prix, 6th
2001 Mr. Olympia, 11th
2001 San Francisco Pro Invitational - IFBB, 3rd
2001 Ironman Pro Invitational - IFBB, 2nd
2001 Grand Prix Hungary - IFBB, 8th
2001 Grand Prix Australia - IFBB, 7th
2001 Arnold Classic - IFBB, 7th
2000 Night of Champions - IFBB, 7th
1999 USA Championships - NPC, Super-HeavyWeight, 1st
1999 USA Championships - NPC, Overall Winner
1998 USA Championships - NPC, Super-HeavyWeight, 2nd
1993 Musclemania, HeavyWeight, 3rd