Amar’e Stoudemire set to sign with Hapoel Jerusalem
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Amar’e Stoudemire set to sign with Hapoel Jerusalem

After retiring from 14 years in the NBA, forward with Hebrew roots set to play for the team that he partially owns

Amar’e Stoudemire playing for the New York Knicks in a game against the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center in Houston, Nov. 24, 2014. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Amar’e Stoudemire playing for the New York Knicks in a game against the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center in Houston, Nov. 24, 2014. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Former NBA forward Amar’e Stoudemire has agreed to terms with the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team, and is set to hold a press conference Monday in the Israeli capital to make the official announcement, according to multiple reports Sunday.

Stoudemire, 33, announced his retirement from the NBA on July 26, after a 14-year career.

At the press conference, Stoudemire is also expected to speak about his career and his reasons for leaving the NBA, reports said.

Hapoel Jerusalem won the Israeli championship last year for the first time in its history and will play in the EuroCup this year. The team moved to the newly completed Jerusalem Arena in 2014.

In July 2013, Stoudemire announced he had become a part owner in Hapoel Jerusalem.

Stoudemire first visited Israel in 2010, and returned in 2013 as an assistant coach of the Canadian Maccabiah basketball squad.

Although he isn’t technically Jewish, he considers himself “culturally Jewish” and has a deep affection for Israel. He has long believed he has Jewish roots — or, as he told JTA in an exclusive interview at the time, Hebrew roots.

“I’m not a religious person, I’m more of a spiritual person, so I follow the rules of the Bible that coordinate with and connect with the Hebrew culture,” Stoudemire said.

“You have to read the book to get an understanding. The Bible is a history book. The ultimate goal is to … start to live the actual Scriptures instead of reading about [them]. It’s the actions that count,” he said.

Stoudemire is a six-time NBA all-star, and had career averages of 18.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Should he come to play in Israel, he’ll be one of the biggest American basketball stars ever to do so.

JTA contributed to this report.

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