New York Knicks power forward Amare Stoudemire has been known for getting more in touch with his spiritual side in the past, but now he’s taking it to a whole new level and has recently traveled to Israel to apply for citizenship.
His agent, Happy Walter, admits to New York Magazine that Stoudemire is indeed applying for citizenship.
Stoudemire, who says he was not raised Jewish, claims to have Israeli roots through his mother, and has been making headlines earlier since last year, concerning his deep interests and devotion to the Jewish faith.
If his tattoos of the Star of David on his hand and the writing of the words “Black Jesus”,signed on his neck, weren’t enough to prove his passion for Judaism, the forward went as far as to have a Jewish wedding last December, and married long time girlfriend Alexis Welch, where he sported a white talit and yarmulke.
The 30-year-old Knick’s star stated that he had no formal religion, although he practices certain Jewish rituals and says, “We are all Jewish. It’s the original culture.”
“I’m not a religious person, I’m more of a spiritual person,” he recently told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “So I follow the rules of the Bible that coordinate with and connect with the Hebrew culture.”
According to the Jerusalem post, Stoudemire said he is in regular dialogue with the New York rabbis, studies the Torah, and observes the High Holidays, during an interview with JTA.
Stoudemire became part owner of the basketball club Hapoel Jerusalem, during the beginning of the year and was as the assistant coach of the Canadian basketball team during the Maccabiah Games in Israel.
In other news concerning the Knick’s star, it has been reported that he may not be attending Hakeem Olajuwon’s Camp for big men this month due to oft-injured knees.
Olajuwon’s camp sessions cost about $50,000 per week.
The forwards previous training at the camp paid off last season, as it became evident in his improved skills on the court.
Although his presence in the paint was quite limited due to his injured knees, he was able to average 14.2 points and 5 rebounds last season.
The Knicks believe that it’s best that Stoudemire not attend the rigorous training at the camp, out of concern for his knees.
His co-agent, Travis King, told ESPNNewYork.com’s Jared Zwerling that the plan is up in the air at this point.
Not sure if he is still going,” King said. “Waiting to meet with him once he returns from Israel.”