Amar’e Stoudemire was one of the most prominent power forwards in the NBA especially when he played for the Phoenix Suns. In a system that was build for him and Steve Nash, Amar’e flourished and the fans got to see his abilities being displayed on a nightly basis and the chemistry between him and Nash was almost unparalleled in the league at that time.
After injuries caught up with Amar’e, he decided to leave the NBA and play overseas and it seems he found a new home for himself and his family. Amare settled in Israel and is playing for a local team Hapoel Jerusalem. Apart from his engagement with basketball, Amare was granted Israeli citizenship yesterday in a ceremony at the Interior Ministry.
בטקס מרגש הענקתי היום אזרחות ישראלית לשחקן הכדורסל של הפועל ירושלים, אמארה סטודמאייר, או בשמו העברי יהושפט. שחקן כדורסל גדול, איש נהדר, שגריר אדיר של מדינת ישראל ושל בירתנו ירושלים, שקשר את גורלו עם ישראל. מזל טוב יהושפט! pic.twitter.com/Mz4ovQwCHY
— אריה מכלוף דרעי (@ariyederi) March 13, 2019
Amar’e felt tremendous pride after receiving the citizenship and said his love for Israel is special and it means a lot to him.
“It’s a very exciting moment for me. My body is flooded with emotions now, my love for Israel has been with me for many years, and being part of Israel is something very special,” Stoudemire said at the ceremony, the Hebrew language Ynet reported. “I would like to say thank you also to Hapoel Jerusalem for giving me the opportunity to play on the team and to help me in this process.”
Amare’s connection with Israel started in 2010 when he first visited the country. Amare said he identifies with the Hebrew Israelites, African-Americans who believe they are connected to the biblical Israelites and observes Jewish holidays.
“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. I was so excited to be here, see all the important historical sites, learn Hebrew and to get a better understanding of my heritage.”