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Carmelo Anthony says the government "completely turned their back" on Puerto Rico
01:42 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

NBA star Carmelo Anthony says the United States government “completely turned their back” on Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hammered the island last year, leaving thousands dead and millions without power.

“It hurt … they’re American citizens.” Anthony told CNN’s Van Jones on “The Van Jones Show,” airing Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.

The ten-time NBA All-Star, who is expected to sign with the Houston Rockets, has a personal connection to Puerto Rico: His father was born there. Since the category 5 hurricane hit, Anthony has visited the island multiple times, trying to help residents recover.

The devastation feels personal, Anthony told Jones.

“It was … a low blow, to me and to all of the Puerto Ricans down there, because we can’t control Hurricane Maria,” he said.

The Trump administration has been criticized for what critics say was a lackluster response to help the millions of Americans who live on the island.

“The least you can do is send the resources down there,” Anthony said.

The former Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks star took it upon himself to personally contribute to the relief effort, but, told Jones that he was met with some challenges.

“We sent, you know, airplanes down there with supplies,” he said. “We had the supply stuff at the … you know, at the port; we couldn’t get in. We had to make calls and – it was just a lot. It was just sad that we had to go through (that) … in order to help people,” he told Jones.

“Puerto Rico is part of this country and I just felt like the government completely turned their back, you know, to their island,” Anthony added.