Six-time NBA All-Star and wine bath evangelical Amar’e Stoudemire is retiring after 14 years in the Association. Stoudemire, who learned of his Jewish ancestry back in 2010, signed a one-day contract on Tuesday with the New York Knicks in order to retire with the team that he spent five quality if injury-ridden seasons with.
“Although my career has taken me to other places around the country, my heart had always remained in the Big Apple,” said the 33-year-old Stoudemire. “Once a Knick, always a Knick.”
STAT, as he was known—as in Standing Tall And Talented—the 6’10 power forward and center spent his first eight seasons with the Phoenix Suns, where the big man’s top tier athleticism was one of the key components of the Seven Seconds or Less Suns teams, known for their furiously paced brand of basketball. Along with Steve Nash, Shawn Marion, and coach Mike D’Antoni, Stoudemire made five All-Star teams in his first eight years in the league, an impressive feat for a player drafted straight out of high school. However, for all their offensive success, those Suns teams never made it past the Western Conference Finals.
Following the 2009-2010 season, Stoudemire signed a 5-year, $99.7 million deal with the Knicks, where his former coach D’Antoni had recently signed as well. Midway through his first season, the Knicks traded for Carmelo Anthony, hoping to emulate the Miami Heat by pairing the two stars together. However, Stoudemire became riddled by injuries, never reached the heights of his first season in New York, when he averaged 25.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.6 assists a game, earning him a spot on the All-NBA Second Team. He never played over 65 games again, and was traded to Dallas during the 2014-15 season, where he rode the bench. He spent one final year on the bench in Miami before he decided to call it quits.
Since embracing his love of Judaism, Stoudemire “the sporting world’s most famous maybe-Jew,” has become a part owner of the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team, met with Shimon Peres and was also reported to be looking into obtaining Israeli citizenship. (See here for his adventures in the Holy Land.) Stoudemire even began having regular Shabbat dinners with his family. Reported New York:
Stoudemire’s passion for Judaism was readily apparent when the conversation moved to the topic of Jewish holidays. “I love the Passover. Passover is a great holy day,” he told us when we asked about his favorite one.
His wife, Alexis Welch, chimed in, “I love our Sabbath dinners, though!” — a sentiment with which Stoudemire readily concurred.
“Sabbaths are awesome,” he said.
“All of our friends and family come over, so that’s so much fun,” Welch added.
Though Stoudemire rarely hit the floor in the second half of his career—fear not! He’s rumored to be considering signing a contract with Hapoel Jerusalem. So if you have yet to see him bang the boards, you may very well have a chance soon to see STAT do work—in Israel.
Here, check out Amare at his best: