Recently retired Amar'e Stoudemire still has work to do in his basketball career. He's just not going to do it in America anymore. Or at least for the next year.
According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the retired 6-time All-Star who recently called it quits as a Knick from the NBA is reportedly heading to the Middle East to play in the Israel Basketball Premier League. Stoudemire, 33, is set to announce the deal on Monday that he has signed a contract to play for Hapoel Jerusalem B.C.
The power forward/center, who finished with career averages of 18.9 points and 7.8 rebounds, plus five All-NBA Team selections, state to the Arizona Republic on Sunday about retiring from the NBA.
“I’m at peace with it because I gave everything that I had," he says, adding, “It took a while. The game is such a beautiful game. I was truly in love with it but there were no teams who needed my position.”
Stoudemire began his career and played eight seasons with the Phoenix Suns, then five with the New York Knicks, and completed the last of his 15 total years in the NBA with two one-off seasons with the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat. Stoudemire will be the first NBA star in the history of Israel to play in their professional league since Tom Chambers during in the 1995-1996 season.
Perhaps this was in the works for Stoudemire's career path. In 2010 when he visited Israel, he told The Jerusalem Post that his trip was a necessary pilgrimage: “The Holy Land has always been high on my list of places to visit, and when this opportunity arose, I wasn’t going to push it off any longer.”
Also, Stoudemire told the Sun Sentinel in September 2015 that he considers himself "culturally Jewish" per his mother's Jewish heritage. And by birthright, he's right.
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