Stoudemire: “I know my place in the NBA, but feel comfortable at Maccabi”

2020-02-12T12:03:21+00:00 2020-02-12T12:08:26+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

12/Feb/20 12:03

Amar’e Stoudemire is back in Israel and discusses testing his strength against top EuroLeague stars.

By John Askounis/

After playing in over 900 NBA games, Amar’e Stoudemire moved his talents and also invested in Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem. After a short stint in China’s CBA returned to Israel for the third time, but joined Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv. Sat down with Israeli outlet ONE to explain his decision and also talked about NBA draft prospect Deni Avdija.

“I wanted to play in EuroLeague” he admitted, “The opportunity surfaced at Jerusalem, but we couldn’t win the Super League and the Basketball Champions League. I then moved to China and I felt like I was playing in a high-level competitive league, but was not the best cultural fit for me. So I returned to Miami. When the call came from Maccabi, I felt like it is the perfect opportunity for me to play in EuroLeague. I was completely ready for the opportunity.”

“I didn’t even have to think about it,” the six-time NBA All Star mentioned further commenting on his move to Maccabi Tel Aviv, “I talked to my kids because they were already adjusting back in Miami and spending time with the family. So I talked to my family, they said that there is no problem and I flew directly to Israel.”

“I know what kind of player I am”

“I know my place in the NBA. I know what kind of player I am, but I don’t feel any pressure,” Stoudemire replied to a question on his NBA potential at 37, “I feel very comfortable here in Maccabi Tel Aviv. I love the club, play in EuroLeague and Super League, so I’m happy to be here. If they call me from the NBA, then it will become a possibility for me, but so far everything is good here at Maccabi.”

“I am focused on EuroLeague trying to win championships both here in Israel and in Europe,” he added, “These are the main things I concentrate on. I will continue to work and be a leader for the younger members of the squad, create a winning atmosphere and win.”

From Hapoel Jerusalem to Maccabi Tel Aviv

“I am not angry with them,” he said on Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem fans reacting badly to his decision to move to Maccabi Tel Aviv, “I tried to extend my contract with them before leaving for China. I also talked with many players who wanted me to come back, but the management couldn’t re-sign me. I stayed ready to compete at a high level, received the call from Maccabi and returned to Israel.”

“In my heart, I am a Jerusalemite, but in terms of basketball I am ready to play for any team that competes for championships,” Stoudemire furthered going into his front office status at Hapoel Jerusalem, “When it comes to my shares, I am willing to do whatever is asked of me, whether it is selling my shares or handing them to somebody for the rest of the season.”

“The sky is the limit for Avdija”

“Deni is like my little brother” he said on hot upstart and teammate, Deni Avdija, “We talk a lot and train together. It’s funny because he’s just 19 and I am the oldest player of the team, but we are the only two that get to practice so early in the morning. Differences and similarities are there. Nearing the end of my career, we both practice at the same level.”

“The sky is the limit for him,” he added on the 19-year-old prospect, “He works really hard. I like to watch his effort and being part of his work ethic. I am happy to teach him some things I know. I believe he understands what it takes to succeed. He is never trying to avoid hard work. I think his parents did a great job, the team as well.”

“I don’t know. After my 15th season I felt like I was done, but my body still feels good after workouts,” he pointed out referring to his retirement date, “Now I am going through my 18th season and I still keep up with younger players. I don’t know when my career will come to an end.”