NBA star Amar'e Stoudemire heads to Israel after discovering Jewish roots
'This is my dream,' tweets New York Knicks forward en route to Holy Land.
U.S. basketball star Amar'e Stoudemire landed in Israel on Wednesday for a voyage of discovery after learning he has Jewish roots. Stoudemire's agent said the New York Knicks forward was planning a weeklong visit to learn about the country and explore its religions.
On Wednesday afternoon, Stoudemire posted to his Twitter account, Amareisreal, "Jerusalem is a beautiful city, I'm at a cafe eating a late lunch. I'm learning Hebrew by the min. Keep up !! Shalom."
On Monday he Tweeted, "On the flight to Israel. This is going to be a great trip. The holy land. Learn about it," he wrote, adding "ze ha'halom sheli" - Hebrew for "this is my dream."
According to an Army Radio report, the Florida native plans to spend time in Israel learning Hebrew, having recently learned he has a Jewish mother.
News of Stoudemire's trip quickly had Israeli basketball fans abuzz with speculation that they might one day see him playing alongside another Jewish NBA star, Omri Casspi, on Israel's national team.
So far there is no indication that Stoudemire is here to stay - although for the moment, Israel seems to be getting along just fine without him, beating Great Britain 86-82 on Tuesday and Belgium 69-64 on Wednesday.
Stoudemire left the Phoenix Suns earlier this month to sign a $100-million, five-year deal with the Knicks.