Amar’e Stoudemire’s NBA career may be over, but he’s still playing professionally in Israel where he’s a member of Hapoel Jerusalem, an Israeli Basketball Premier League team that he co-owns. He said it was a "dream come true" when he bypassed offers from NBA teams to sign a two-year deal with the team last summer.
But Stoudemire managed to make both himself and his team look terrible during a recent interview with Israeli website Walla Sport. Stoudemire and a handful of other Hapoel Jerusalem players were asked if they would have an issue with playing alongside of a gay teammate. And while all of his teammates said no, Stoudemire took a different approach to answering the question about what he would do if he found out a teammate was gay.
"I’m going to shower across the street," he said, "make sure my change of clothes are around the corner. And I’m going to drive—take a different route to the gym."
Stoudemire sounded like he was just making a bad joke, and maybe he was. But when the reporter who asked him the question asked if he was kidding around, he made the interview even more uncomfortable than it already was.
"I mean, there’s always a truth within a joke," he said.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time Stoudemire has come under fire for saying something homophobic. Back in 2012, a fan told Stoudemire that he needed to "come back a lot stronger and quicker to make up for this past season" on Twitter. And Stoudemire responded to the fan with a direct message that said, "Fuck you. I don’t have to do any thing fag."
He was fined $50,000 by the NBA and forced to issue an apology for what he said.
Stoudemire is yet to respond to the controversy he has caused with his latest comments. But John Amaechi, who is recognized as the first openly gay former NBA player, had this to say after he heard about what Stoudemire said: