Amar’e Stoudemire must have had a hell of a time at the Maccabiah Games this past month in Jerusalem, where he coached the Canadian basketball team (and Instagramed like a kid on Birthright). Just days after the Jewish Olympics ended, the New York Knicks’ power forward—who’s newly a part-owner of Israeli basketball team Hapoel Jerusalem—is in the process of obtaining Israeli citizenship, Daily Intel reports:
Stoudemire was even invited to play for the Israeli national team by President Shimon Peres. It’s something Stoudemire’s agent, Happy Walters, sees as a real possibility. In fact, Walters says that Stoudemire is in the process of becoming an official Israeli. “He’s getting citizenship,” the agent told Daily Intelligencer at the premiere of We’re the Millers last night. “He applied, and he’s there now.”
Stoudemire has long displayed an affinity for Judaism and Israel (see: his Twitter feed), citing Hebrew roots on his mother’s side of the family. “His mother says there’s some Jewish blood on her side, but Amar’e is just a total student of history and had been planning a trip to Israel for awhile,” Walters explained in 2010, at the time of Stoudemire’s first, much-publicized trip to the Holy Land. “Is it possible [that he’s Jewish]? Maybe. We’re going to do some research.”
Since then, he’s been documenting his study of Hebrew texts and peppering his tweets with ‘Shabbat Shaloms‘ and ‘Boker tovs.’ And now that he’s best friends with Israeli president Shimon Peres, I have a feeling his application may go to the front of the line.
All of which is to say, Stat is officially a better Jew than you.
Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.