Amare Is A Jew, Who Knew?

The Street Hustle

I’m not one to goof on anyone’s religion, spirituality or private vacation from reality. If you really think the Almighty has seven arms, braided hairy armpits, bad breath, lives somewhere in the center of the earth and demands a ritual sacrifice of moths five times a day, hey man, this is America. As long as I don’t have to hear about it in my living room or on the nightly news no worries.

Nor, for that matter, is it any business of mine how someone wants to make a living in this world. If there’s a market for anal cleansers that were once used as bait earth worms, who am I to say you can’t make a buck pushing the product.

However, every now and then a mega business deal and spirituality can possibly lead to even more riches down the road.


JERUSALEM — Amare Stoudemire already knows some Hebrew phrases and sports a Star of David tattoo. Now he’s come to Israel to explore what might be his Jewish heritage.

The five-time NBA All-Star who recently signed with the New York Knicks is on a weeklong visit to learn about Israel, its language and religions. He believes he has “Hebrew roots” through his mother, Carrie.

“She studied the Scriptures and history and she believes she is a Hebrew,” he told The Associated Press Friday in Jerusalem. “I grew up in a very spiritual home. It’s not about religion, it’s about spirituality for me.”

Stoudemire said he was “soaking up the culture” with his girlfriend and a few other friends from home.

He has long suspected his Jewish lineage — Judaism is passed down through the mother’s side. Stoudemire’s agent, Happy Walters, said his client is a “student of history” and is “exploring religions in general.”

He added that Stoudemire may turn to a genealogist when he returns to New York to dig deeper.

The 6-foot-10 forward signed a five-year, $100 million contract with the Knicks three weeks ago. He will now be playing in the city with the largest Jewish population in the United States.

The NBA features two Jewish players: Israeli Omri Casspi of the Sacramento Kings and Jordan Farmar of the New Jersey Nets. When Farmar joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 2006, he became the NBA’s first Jewish player since Danny Schayes — son of Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes — retired in 1999.

Stoudemire said he’s spoken to Casspi a few times about Judaism, “but we didn’t go into details about it.”

Stoudemire has begun studying Hebrew and his Twitter page features such words as “Shalom,” “Le’chayim” and “ze ha’halom sheli,” Hebrew for “this is my dream.”

“It’s great,” he said. “Hebrew is the original language.”

On Twitter, he also called himself “the new Reggie White,” saying “I’m going 2 Israel 2 study Hebrew. It’s time 2 get a better understanding on who we R…”

Write this down: if this guy can bring an NBA Championship to New York, he’ll never pay for a knish on the Lower East Side again. Not to mention all the Yenta’s making blah blah about their unwed granddaughters.

Quick note to my newest landsman Amare: lose the tattoo. A Star of David is a nice touch but go see the Chasidism in the Diamond District for a charm. Jews don’t do tattoos.

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