Amar’e Stoudemire returned to Miami from Israel but does not know if he will be back to play basketball despite applying for citizenship.
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Stoudemire and his Hapoel Jerusalem club won the Israel Premier League championship last week.
“It felt amazing after a long season to lift up the championship trophy,” the former NBA All-Star told the New York Post in an interview published Wednesday.
Stoudemire, 34, also told the Post he is weighing his options for next year, including retirement, returning to play for Hapoel Jerusalem or playing again in the NBA, perhaps with the New York Knicks, a former team.
The 6-10 forward said he would enjoy defending Hapoel’s title, but the Israeli media have reported that he did not see eye to eye with the Hapoel coach.
Stoudemire was a partial owner of Hapoel, which he had to suspend in order to play. He signed a two-year contract with the club last year.
“The fans have been amazing — at every game they’re cheering, ecstatic all game and positive,’’ Stoudemire told the Post.
Stoudemire —who isn’t Jewish but identifies with the Hebrew Israelites, African-Americans who believe they are connected to the biblical Israelites — told the Post of his religious observances.
“I follow all the laws of Moses, Passover with unleavened bread, Yom Kippur, the culture and law of the land,” he said. “It was perfect for me. I was able to adapt easily because we all followed the same laws of the Torah.’’
Stoudemire’s wife and children spent the year with him in Israel.