Amar’e Stoudemire urged by Israel’s president to play for national team
New York Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire, who has claimed for years that he has “Hebrew roots,” was invited by the president of Israel on Thursday to play for the country’s national basketball team, according to a report from the Associated Press.
The oft-injured NBA player is currently in Israel to coach the Canadian basketball team in an annual sports competition of Jewish athletes known as the Maccabiah Games. Israel’s president, Shimon Peres, met with the six-time All-Star on Thursday and reportedly urged him to play for the national team. Stoudemire has traveled to Israel during the offseason in the past and was recently involved in talks with a group looking to possibly purchase Israeli basketball team Hapoel Jerusalem.
The 30-year-old former NBA Rookie of the Year signed a five-year, $99 million contract with the Knicks in 2010 but because of various injuries has played in only 76 games in the last two seasons. Since coming into the league out of high school in 2002, he has averaged 21.3 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.