Yep. In what might be called another spiritual trip to explore his Jewish side, Knicks’ forward Amar’e Stoudamire has signed on as assistant coach of the Canadian men’s basketball entry in the Maccabiah Games — the self-proclaimed Jewish Olympics held every four years in Israel. Competitors must be Jewish, or live in Israel.
Stoudamire, who says that he is “Hebrew through my mother”, visited Israel in 2010 and has considered playing basketball there. Now he is The Chosen One — that is, by Canadian men’s head basketball coach John Dore. The Games begin July 18, and will attract 8,500 athletes from 70 countries.
Stoudamire of course is rehabbing from a knee injury, and hopes to be back with the Knicks for the playoffs. New York Times:
The man whom Dore escorted into the gym was his assistant coach for the tournament, Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire, whose entrance prompted a hush among the players.
The coming visit promises to be uplifting, too, especially if Canada earns the gold medal, something it last accomplished in 1997. Canada has scored a coup just by getting a star of Stoudemire’s magnitude to Israel, notably a star who professed in his previous trip that he believed he might be part Jewish.
“It was a bit of a dream scenario to reach out to Amar’e because of his discovering his Jewish roots and his playing basketball,” Alex Brainis, the head of Maccabi Canada’s delegation, said. “We figured that if he said yes, this would be a big recruiting tool.”
When offered the post, “Amar’e was nothing but enthusiastic,” Brainis said.
Former Roanoke University head coach Brad Greenberg will coach the U.S. men’s team. Here’s the roster.