...The 28-year-old NBA superstar had announced his plans to come to Israel via Twitter on Tuesday as he was boarding his flight.
“This is going to be a great trip,” Stoudemire wrote on his Twitter feed, “@Amareisreal.”
“The holy land. Learn about it,” he wrote, adding, “ze ha’halom sheli” – Hebrew for “this is my dream.”
With the 2009-10 NBA season over, and a $100 million deal signed earlier this month with the Knicks, the 6-foot, 10-inch, 249-pound (208-centimeter, 113-kilo) athlete decided to visit.
“I don’t really consider myself to be a religious person, but rather a deeply spiritual individual,” Stoudemire told the Post.
“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 went on.
“I have never hid my spiritual roots,” he said. “They just weren’t something that came under the spotlight.”
Stoudemire added that he had always channeled his spirituality through the way he played basketball.
“I am proud to be a Hebrew and embrace my Jewish background,” he said Told that his new status might give him more “street cred” in his new home – as New York has the largest Jewish population outside of Israel – Stoudemire laughed deeply and said, “I look forward to that.
This season is going to be great, and bonding with the New York fans is going to be special also.
“I’d like to thank all my fans in Israel and my supporters worldwide,” he added. “I plan on having a great vacation and learning a whole lot as well.”
Stoudemire’s Twitter announcement had both the sports and Jewish worlds abuzz on Wednesday, with news organizations and bloggers speculating as to what a Jewish Stoudemire might mean.
“#1 Jewish athlete of all time” was the most common online response to the news, although others expressed hope that Stoudemire would join his NBA colleague, small forward Omri Casspi – who plays for the Sacramento Kings – on the Israeli national basketball team....more...
Yes, NBA star Amar'e Stoudemire is a Jew. JPost has the story [hat tip to Barak].