Published On: Tue, Aug 2nd, 2016

NBA Star Stoudemire Joins Jerusalem Team He Co-Owns, Calls It a “Dream Come True”

Amar'e Stoudemire / Getty

Amar’e Stoudemire, 33, who retired from the NBA last week, has signed a two-year deal to play 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 agreement with Hapoel Jerusalem, Stoudemire will sell his shares to president and majority owner of the team,  Dr. Ori Allon.

 “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, ” said Dr. Ori Allon,  “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.”

Allon is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Compass, a national real estate technology platform. Allon also founded Orion, which was acquired by Google, and then founded Julpan, which was acquired by Twitter.

nba-JUNE 2011 Amare_stoudemire_576

 

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

“What impressed me most when talking to Amar’e was his deep desire to come play for Hapoel Jerusalem, ” said Pianigiani. “His experience will be a great asset to our team. I’m confident he will have a positive impact on our season, and I look forward to it.”

 The 14 year NBA veteran who was drafted by the Phoenix Suns with the ninth pick of the 2002 NBA draft, said “I am looking forward to playing for Hapoel Jerusalem and helping the team compete for titles, ”  Stoudemire added. “My family and I are excited to start a new journey in Israel, a country I have grown to love.”

In 2010, after signing with the New York Knicks Stoudemire told the New York Post that he had become “spiritually and culturally Jewish.” he said he was keeping kosher and would celebrate the High Holy Days. He first visited Israel that year after discovering that his mother have Jewish ancestry.

The All-Star Stoudemire closed out his career playing a season each in Dallas Mavericks and Miami.

In an article for Player’s Tribune website, Stoudmire wrote:

I may be retiring from the NBA, but I’m not saying goodbye to basketball just yet.  My next step is playing for Hapoel Jerusalem, one of the top teams in Europe.  This isn’t about collecting a paycheck overseas, though;  it’s a spiritual journey, too.

The Scripture speaks about Jerusalem as a holy place, and I can feel that whenever I’m in the city. This is a chance for me to be a better husband and a better father, to help me lead my family into righteousness. The opportunity to play there, and grow as a player and person, is a blessing.

As my father used to tell me, “The sky’s the limit.”

Time to soar.

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