Amar'e Stoudemire loves Israel. He makes a point of it. He visited in 2010, not long after signing with the Knicks, and returned absolutely agog, even intent on determining the extent of his own Jewish heritage. Well, he's going back this summer, and this time it's not a spiritual quest, but a business engagement. Amar'e has been hired as an assistant coach for the Canadian basketball team in this year's Maccabiah Games-- the Jewish Olympics held in Israel every four years. Hillel Kuttler has the full story at the Times, including an explanation for how this came to be:
The networking that reeled in Stoudemire worked like this: Brainis, a guard, played for Dore in the 2005 Maccabiah. Dore’s assistant coach there was Glen Grunwald, a close friend who had been fired the previous year as the Toronto Raptors’ general manager but still lived in the city. Last year, Brainis asked Dore to call Grunwald, who by then was working as the Knicks’ executive vice president and general manager, to help make the introduction to Stoudemire. On a visit to the Knicks’ practice facility during last year’s Knicks-Miami Heat playoff series, Dore formally extended the job offer in a conversation with Stoudemire in the trainer’s room.
Read on and you'll see that Amar'e's already been pretty intimately involved with the team. He apparently did a whole bunch of coaching at tryouts last summer. I enjoyed this part as well: "that he coach rather than play does not disappoint the Canadian organizers". The Knicks would absolutely never let Amar'e put extra weight on his fragile knees over the summer, but the image of a team comprised of a bunch of Canadian Jews and AMAR'E STOUDEMIRE tickles me to no end. But yeah, a spot on the sideline is probably the best arrangement for all concerned parties.
So, that's what our big friend will be up to in July. Cool.