Amar'e Stoudemire held a press conference Monday at MSG to announce his two-year contract to play with the club Hapoel Jerusalem, and it was everything we could have expected/hoped for from the former Knicks big man and child of Zion.
Both the Israeli and American flags are here at MSG for the Amar'e Stoudemire press conference. pic.twitter.com/GQy424rpS4— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) August 1, 2016
Congratulations to my longtime client @Amareisreal on your new journey! pic.twitter.com/5GSC0IMm3P— Happy Walters (@Happywalters) August 1, 2016
Per Marc Berman, Amar'e will have to sell back his ownership shares as a condition of his player contract.
Was STAT simply unable to find a job in the NBA? Not so, according to his agent:
Happy Walters, Amar'e's agent, says Amar'e had several NBA offers; none were from playoff teams. He wasn't interested in a non-playoff team.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) August 1, 2016
Amar'e won't have to worry about playing for a loser: Hapoel Jerusalem won its first Israeli Basketball League title in 2015, and finished runner-up to Maccabi Rishon LeZion this season. Clearly, STAT is out for revenge.
But this is far more that a job for Stoudemire, as he laid out in his Players' Tribune article:
This isn't about collecting a paycheck overseas, though; it's a spiritual journey, too.
The Scripture speaks about Jerusalem as a holy place, and I can feel that whenever I'm in the city. This is a chance for me to be a better husband and a better father, to help me lead my family into righteousness.
Those are some pretty lofty goals, my man!
Clearly in a benevolent mood, Amar'e had some advice for new Knick Derrick Rose:
.@Amareisreal offers advice to @drose. #NewKnickshttps://t.co/18gZZyO3oz— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) August 1, 2016
That last quote is how I choose to remember Amar'e Stoudemire, the Knick:
"I stepped into this role when I first got here and it was basketball first. Even though I indulged in the red wine baths and the Broadway shows, the Met Operas, the fashion shows; I indulged in all these beautiful things that New York has to offer. But my main focus was basketball and giving my heart and soul to the Knicks organization, and that’s what I did."
Peace be upon you, pilgrim. Enjoy your time in the Holy Land.