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Israeli president urges Stoudemire to play for national team

Photo: Gali Tibbon/AFP/Getty Images

Amar'e Stoudemire met with Israeli President Shimon Peres on Wednesday in Jerusalem.

JERUSALEM (AP) -- The president of Israel has invited New York Knicks star Amare Stoudemire to play for the country's national basketball team because of his ties to Judaism.

Shimon Peres met with Stoudemire on Thursday to discuss the player's charity efforts. Stoudemire, who says he has "Hebrew roots,'' has traveled to Israel before and Peres urged him to help the national team.

The six-time NBA All-Star already has significant ties to Israeli basketball. Last month, he joined a group looking to buy Hapoel Jerusalem, a team in Israel's top league. Stoudemire is in Israel to coach the Canadian basketball team at the Maccabiah Games, a competition for Jewish athletes.

Stoudemire won a bronze medal with the United States at the 2004 Olympics but has not played for the national team since 2007.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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