Amar’e Stoudemire set to buy Israeli basketball team

Hoops star with Jewish roots wants to give perennial underachiever Hapoel Jerusalem ‘a fresh start’

Elie Leshem is deputy editor of The Times of Israel.

Amar'e Stoudemire takes a practice shot. (photo credit: CC BY-scott mecum, Flickr)
Amar'e Stoudemire takes a practice shot. (photo credit: CC BY-scott mecum, Flickr)

The New York Knicks’ star forward Amar’e Stoudemire, who’s been reconnecting with his Jewish roots over the past few years, says he’s joining a group that’s likely to purchase the troubled Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team.

“Excited to join the partnership that is giving back to the city of Jerusalem by offering the Hapoel basketball team a fresh start,” Stoudemire (@Amareisreal), 30, tweeted on Friday morning.

Stoudemire then retweeted a statement from the head of the purchasing group, entrepreneur Ori Allon.

In 2010 Stoudemire visited Israel, where he spoke to his Jewish roots and traditions, including Shabbat and Passover; proudly displayed his Star of David tattoo; and showed off his Hebrew. He also appeared on “Shalom Sesame,” a Hebrew-English version of Sesame Street.

Local basketball commentators say the Allon group is likely to beat out other investors vying for the right to buy Hapoel, a perennial contender in local competition that, despite taking home several state cups over the past two decades, has consistently fallen short in its quest to win a championship.

The team’s chronic underachievement has often been attributed to its management, which Hebrew media reports have long depicted as being grossly inefficient. Last season, despite fielding a stellar roster, Hapoel was ousted from league play by local powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv in the playoff semifinals.

Stoudemire missed much of the 2012-13 NBA season due to a knee injury, and ended up posting subpar (for him) averages of 14.2 points and five rebounds per game. He is set to coach the Canadian team at the upcoming Maccabiah Games in Israel, The New York Times reported in April.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed