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America’s Jewish Team: Amar’e Stoudemire Playing for Mark Cuban’s Mavericks

Dallas (37-20) will be playing the Charlotte Hornets, 6:30 PM Sunday.

Amar'e Stoudemire + Mark Cuban

It’s official, the Amar’e Stoudemire Era has begun at the Dallas Mavericks, as the team’s new purchase will take to the home court at American Airlines Center this evening.

Dallas (37-20) will be playing the Charlotte Hornets, 6:30 PM Sunday.

The Mavs let the ex-Knick Stoudemire sit out two games, to get in shape, after signing him as a free agent on Wednesday.

“We’re not asking him to play 40 minutes, ” owner Mark Cuban said. “If we have to give him a night off, we’ll give him a night off.”

The Mavs believe Stoudemire will be a strong backup to starting center Tyson Chandler.

“He’s a great addition for us, he’s a veteran, he’s a guy that at this point in time in his career just wants to win, ” forward Richard Jefferson told the Star Telegram. “It gives us added presence down there in the post — someone we can throw the ball to.

“I think he fits well in this offense because he rolls like Tyson and he can pop like Dirk [Nowitzki]. And he can help us out on the glass, something that we obviously need help on.”

Stoudemire, for his part, said his game is much more than just pick-and-roll plays.

“I mean, pick-and-roll offense has always been there for me, ” he said. “I’m a major threat also in the low post, so either way will be beneficial. I’ve been able to adjust in any offense. I think coach [Rick] Carlisle is a great offensive-minded coach and also a great defensive coach, as well. And I think the overall opportunity is great here.”

Stoudemire averaged 12 points, 6.8 rebounds and 24 minutes in 36 games this season for the New York Knicks.

“Guys want to prove that they can contribute to a playoff team and help take a team to the next level, ” Cuban said. “I think Amar’e is the same way.”

In a 2010 interview, Stoudemire said, “I have been aware since my youth that I am a Hebrew through my mother, and that is something that has played a subtle but important role in my development.” He visited Israel that year, saying he intended “to get a better understanding of my heritage.”

Cuban was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Shirley and Norton Cuban, and grew up in the affluent suburb of Mount Lebanon, in a working-class, Jewish family. His grandfather changed the family name from “Chabenisky” to “Cuban” in Ellis Island.

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