- (Photo: Reuters/Danny Moloshok)
NBA basketball star Amar'e Stoudemire is becoming the newest member of Israel's national basketball team.
The New York Knicks center-forward first visited Israel in 2010 and looked to embrace his Hebrew roots. Since that time Stoudemire has embraced Judaism and is joining the new ownership group of Hapoel Jerusalem as well as coaching the Jewish Canadian team at the Maccabiah games, reported Yahoo! Sports.
"Today I'm one of the proud new owners of the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball organization. It's a great day!" he said upon becoming owner.
Yesterday Stoudemire met with Israeli president Shimon Peres, who hoped that one day the NBA star could play for the Israeli national team. He tweeted about his time with the president.
T"he President of Israel and I had a beautiful time. Talks about Education, Youth and World Peace.… http://instagram.com/p/b5mkLCqA-O/" he wrote.
A switching of national teams could prove rather difficult as Stoudemire has already played on the U.S. team twice, according to Yahoo! Sports. The first time he played in 2004 for the Olympics and the second time was in 2007 for the Tournament of the Americas.
"Any player who wishes to switch his national-team allegiance must have the new nation express interest in writing, have the current nation release him from his obligations, and maybe even have the two countries' basketball federations work out some sort of compensation," said Eric Freeman on Yahoo!
Stoudemire also has obligations to his current team, the New York Knicks, to which he's entering his fourth year with the club. His last two seasons have been littered with injuries as he has missed more games than he has played. A move to play a few games with Israel may be a bad idea for the oft-injured big man, and would probably not have the blessing from the Knicks.