Shalom, Stoudemire: Could NBA Star End Up Playing for Israeli Team He 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

Talk about being the boss' favorite. Amar’e Stoudemire may wind up playing for the Israeli basketball team he co-owns, Hapoel Jerusalem, NESN reports.

Stoudemire, 31, currently plays for the New York Knicks and has been having a good year, but his contract runs out in 2015 and the word is, Israeli media reports, that he may play in Israel. At any rate he declined to rule out the possibility, but NESN for one is skeptical.

Born in Orlando, the soaring Stoudemire – who looms 6 feet 11 inches tall – has a finger in several business pies, including a record label and a clothing line. He has also written children's books. He joined the Knicks in 2010, after opting out of his deal with the Phoenix Suns.

Stoudemire's relationship with Hapoel Jerusalem began a year ago, in March 2013, when he set out to buy a stake in the team. The seller was the estate of business personality Guma Aguiar, who had vanished at sea a year before. The deal for a 90% interest closed after some friction last June, bringing control over the group to Stoudemire, with serial entrepreneur Ori Allon, advertising exec Eyal Chomsky and sports agent supreme Arn Tellem, for 20 million shekels.

During his last visit, in June 2013, the Jewish player - who converted to Judaism in 2010 - met with Israeli president Shimon Peres, who reaches his armpit.

But would Stoudemire abandon the lofty leagues of the NBA for the charms of Israeli basketball? He did say that doing that could be "great." Meanwhile he has a year left on his contract with the Knicks and his knees, a source of trouble in the past, are behaving. Stay tuned.

Amar'e StoudemireCredit: Reuters

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