Hapoel Jerusalem Rumors
Stoudemire will explore three options, and retirement is one of them. The 34-year-old still has pangs for one more go-round in the NBA. “To play and win a championship my first year there, I could just call it quits and leave as a champion,’’ said Stoudemire, who never made it to the NBA Finals. “That could be an option. Another option is maybe to play with a team that needs quality veteran leadership here in the NBA. That could be an option. Or I could go back and defend the title for a back-to-back. I have time to think about it. Those are my three options.”
Stoudemire arrived back in Miami on Sunday after his Hapoel Jerusalem club, despite being the fourth seed in playoffs, captured the Israeli Premier League championship on Thursday with an 83-76 victory over Maccabi Haifa. “It felt amazing after a long season to lift up the championship trophy,’’ Stoudemire told The Post in a phone interview Monday. “We had a great run.”
He’s also still making news, in this case for some homophobic comments he made Tuesday to a website in that country. Stoudemire, who has been playing since 2016 for Hapoel Jerusalem, a team he co-owns, was asked if he would have a problem with having a gay teammate. Other members of the squad were asked the same question, and according to a video of the segment, they all said they would not, with one player adding, “As long as he didn’t mess with me.” However, Stoudemire offered a different take: “I’m going to shower across the street, make sure my change of clothes are around the corner,” he said. “And I’m going to drive [and] take a different route to the gym.”
John Amaechi, former basketball player with experience in both the NBA and Europe, released a rather angry statement as a response to Amare’s remarks, calling the Hapoel Jerusalem center a “braying jackass”, who is “making a desperate grab for relevance amongst a constituency destined for extinction.” Amaechi came out as a homosexual in 2007, becoming the first NBA who publicly talked about being gay.
Q: What things have surprised you about the game in Europe so far? Amare Stoudemire: “It’s very competitive. It’s surprised me. It’s great for me because it allows me to continue to work on my game and continue to work toward improving. So the competitiveness here has surprised me.”
What a thunderous way for Hapoel Jerusalem to begin the new season. The rising power in Israeli basketball made a serious point in the Winner Cup final by defeating rivals Maccabi Tel Aviv 77 – 62 and getting the trophy in their bags. Curtis Jerrells paced the winners with 19 points, while Tarence Kinsey added 12 along with 6 rebounds. On the way to celebrating his first title in Israel, Amar’e Stoudemire dropped 9 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in the 25 minutes he spent on the floor.