Retired NBA Star Amar'e Stoudemire to Play With Jerusalem Basketball Team

Amar’e Stoudemire traveled to Israel in 2010 after finding out about his Jewish heritage; he is expected to play the 2016-17 season for Hapoel Jerusalem, which he co-owns.

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U.S. NBA's New York Knicks basketball player Amare Stoudemire, shakes hands with Israel's President
U.S. NBA's New York Knicks basketball player Amar'e Stoudemire, shakes hands with Israel's President Shimon Peres.Credit: AP
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Amar’e Stoudemire, who retired from the NBA last week, has signed a two-year deal with the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team.

The team announced the deal on its website on Monday. It did not disclose terms of the deal.

Stoudemire has been a minority owner of Hapoel Jerusalem since 2013. As part of his contract with Hapoel Jerusalem, Stoudemire will sell his shares in the club to Dr. Ori Allon, president and majority owner of the team.

“I am looking forward to playing for Hapoel Jerusalem and helping the team compete for titles,” said Stoudemire. “My family and I are excited to start a new journey in Israel, a country I have grown to love.”

Currently led by coach Simone Pianigiani, Hapoel Jerusalem is one of the oldest and most successful teams in the Israeli Basketball League, according to its website. The club has won numerous Israeli State and League Cups, as well as one Israeli Championship and one EuroCup title.

“We are thrilled to have a player of Amar’e’s caliber join our team, solidifying our place among the top echelon of Israeli and European basketball,” Allon said in a statement. “More importantly, bringing Amar’e to Jerusalem raises the profile of the entire Israeli Basketball League, and we hope that his joining our team will lead to increased interest in our league from basketball fans around the world as well as talented international players.”

Stoudemire is scheduled to travel to Israel next week as part of a charity project of NBA Cares. The project is organized by the foundation of Omri Casspi of the Sacramento Kings, the first Israeli to play in the NBA.

In 2010, after joining the New York Knicks, Stoudemire told the New York Post that he had become “spiritually and culturally Jewish.” The All-Star said he was keeping kosher and would celebrate the High Holy Days. He traveled to Israel that year after discovering that his mother appeared to have Jewish ancestry.

Stoudemire, 33, is a six-time NBA All-Star who played in the league for 14 years, retiring last week as a Knick. His first eight seasons were with the Phoenix Suns. Stoudemire closed out his career playing a season each in Dallas and Miami.

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