When the moon hits your eye like pastrami on rye, that's Amar'e
Who is 6’10’’, keeps kosher, plays professional basketball and at one point lived with a minister as a child? That would be six-time NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire. The former power forward for the New York Knicks, who now lives in Israel where he plays in the Israeli league, feels “spiritually and culturally Jewish.” Stoudemire who wasn’t raised Jewish, but considers his mother to be a “Hebrew,” identifies with the Hebrew Israelites, African-Americans who believe they are connected to the biblical Israelites. While he may not technically (it’s not like we’re on the court with a referee here) be an MOT we salute Stoudemire as an honorary Jew — and certainly as crush worthy.
Seven reasons we have a Jew crush on Amar'e Stoudemire:
1. Challenging start. Stoudemire has received 11 awards during his professional career, including “NBA Rookie of the Year,” “NBA All-Star” and “NBA All-Star Rookie Challenge MVP,” but the 34-year-old basketball star wasn’t handed any points. Stoudemire was born in Lake Wales Florida and following his parents’ divorce when he was very young, his mother remarried to a man who passed away when he was still a child. After his step-father’s death his mother was in and out of prison and Stoudemire was taken into various homes, moving often.
2. What a kipa. Bar mitzvah or no bar mitzvah, Stoudemire would make the Rebbe proud. He studies the Torah, regularly talks with rabbis, observes the High Holidays and keeps kosher (he even searched for a kosher butcher in pursuit of turkey bacon after moving to Israel). And oh yeah, there’s that. He had been seeking Israeli citizenship for some time and in August made the move to the Holy Land. At his 2012 wedding to Alexis Welch, the pro athlete wore a yarmulke and tallis and had a “Hebraic” ceremony.
3. Israel scores. After a visit to the Holy Land in 2013 for the Maccabiah Games, Stoudemire decided to pursue citizenship and became a part owner of the Israeli basketball club Hapoel Jerusalem. He now plays for the Basketball Premier League, choosing the Israeli team after walking away from lucrative offers in the US. When Shimon Peres fell ill this past September, Stoudemire offered well wishes for a speedy recovery for the late Israeli president who he had previously met.
4. Multi-talent. Stoudemire isn’t just gifted at playing basketball, he can also play a host of characters. After expressing interest in acting, Stoudemire made guest appearances on several television shows including “Law & Order: SVU,” “Sesame Street,” “Entourage,” “The Exes” and “The Mindy Project.” He’s also had experience on the big screen with roles in the films “McGruber,” the blockbuster romance “New Years Eve,” and the comedy “Trainwreck” portraying himself.
5. Mitzvah machine. For an all-star Basketball player, Stoudemire is the mensch off the bench. In 2008, he became a Good Will Ambassador to Sierra Leone and built water wells to help provide safe drinking water to impoverished villages during his first visit to the country. And in 2014, Stoudemire launched “Amar’e Saves” to promote a campaign that encourages young people to get involved and contribute to the Israeli ambulance service, Magen David Adom.
6. Business savvy. In addition to his vast success on the court and his talents as an actor, Stoudemire has a knack for business. In 2011 he launched a clothing line designed for female athletes and in the same year wrote a series of middle-grade chapter books called “STAT: Standing Tall and Talented.” He also owns his own record label named Hypocalypto, which has signed a wide range of rappers.
7. Puppy love. Stoudemire may be a big guy, but he’s got three little friends: his dogs. Stoudemire has two pit bulls, Ace and Deuce as well as an English bulldog named Spudd … Which proves that even with all the fame and connections in the world, dog is still a man’s best friend.
Amar'e Stoudemire Israel
Amar'e Stoudemire Jerusalem