Dana SorkinIn an effort to improve their national team, Israel President Shimon Peres has asked Amar’e Stoudemire to join their team for the upcoming Olympics, according to a report from NBC Sports.
In 2010, Stoudemire is said to have discovered that he may have Jewish roots through his mother, and went on a trip to Israel to learn more about the religion. He was also reportedly interested in learning Hebrew.
Stoudemire’s original visit to Israel clearly resonated with him, because since then Stoudemire has remained active in Israeli basketball. He recently joined a group interested in purchasing Hapoel Jerusalem, a team that plays in the Israel Super League, which is Israel’s top basketball league. Stoudemire is also currently living in Israel for the off season while coaching the Canadian national team in the Maccabiah Games, which is the largest international competition for Jewish athletes, and has coached clinics for players during the Games.
Stoudemire has participated in multiple international competitions, including playing for the US at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. The US won the Bronze that year. Because of the high level Stoudemire has played at during international competition, it might be difficult for him to be allowed to participate in the upcoming Olympics for Israel.
“Once players have played at the senior national level for one country, they usually are tied to playing for only that country, except in rare instances,” according to the New York Post.
The Israeli national basketball team went to the Olympics for the first and only time in 1952. President Peres, at least, seems to believe that Stoudemire may be the team’s missing piece.
Dana is an intern at SNY this summer.