After the All-Star break last season in Miami, Amare Stoudemire shot 60.7 percent from the floor, played 15 minutes a night and gave the heat 6.1 points and 4 rebounds a game — and he did it efficiently as the Heat won games.
But this summer in free agency, his phone did not ring with offers from NBA squads. Instead, he will play next season in Israel.
Yes, he’s a little ticked about it. He spoke about it at his introductory press conference, via David Pick.
“Do I feel overlooked by teams in the NBA? For sure. I came off a great season with the Miami Heat, I started 37-38 of the last 40 games, my stats were pretty good. But teams want to go younger and have a different mindset about basketball.”
According to his agent, Stoudemire did have NBA offers but not from likely playoff teams, and Stoudemire didn’t want to be the veteran on a rebuilding squad.
So it’s off to Israel, to play for Hapoel Jerusalem, a team where Stoudemire is one of the owners. Of course, he said that’s not why he chose to play there.
“I retired from the NBA because I wanted to play for a team that had a chance to win a championship, so I decided to bring my talents to Israel. This choice of mine has rocked the United States, it’s all over, it’s an historic moment. I’m still in good health, I don’t play basketball for fun, but to win.”
Stoudemire is the biggest name American player ever to play in Israel. And it’s fitting. Remember that back in 2010 Stoudemire discovered that he had Hebrew ancestry — he soon converted to Judaism and visiting Israel. He learned Hebrew. Now he runs youth hoops camps there and more. For him, this is more than playing or a paycheck to end his career. Hopefully, it goes well for him.