It was exciting when Jordan Farmar, the NBA’s only non-Israeli Jewish player, had signed with the New Jersey Nets, thereby bringing him to the Tristate Area. But—breaking!—it turns out that not only is there another Jewish player in the NBA, he too just signed to play in the Tristate Area (with the New York Knicks). And, oh yeah, he’s a superstar! That’s right, folks, Amar’e Stoudemire is Jewish, and he is on his way to Israel!
Recall that this is the same guy who, a few months ago, Tweeted “Shalom !!” for an unrelated reason. It seems he knew something that we didn’t. He has since announced that he has Jewish roots, and yesterday Tweeted: “On the flight to Israel. This is going to be a great trip. The holy land. Learn about it. This ze ha’halom sheli. Shalom.” (For those who lack the power forward’s Hebrew proficiency, that translates to, “this is my dream.”) According to Israeli Army Radio, Stoudemire plans to spend two months in the country learning Hebrew.
What people should understand is that Stoudemire—with due respect to Jordan Farmar—isn’t just another role player. When healthy, he is one of the best big men and generally most effective players in the NBA. This is massively cool.