Amar'e Stoudemire to be assistant coach at Maccabiah Games this summer
New York Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire has accepted an offer to be an assistant coach for the Canadian basketball team at the Maccabiah Games in Israel starting in July, according to a report from Hillel Kuttler of The New York Times.
The trip to Israel won't be the first for the six-time All-Star; in 2010, Stoudemire, who has a Star of David tattooed on his hand, visited the country for a trip that he called "spiritual" in part because of Jewish genealogy on his mother's side.
Alex Brainis, head of the Canadian delegation for the Maccabi games, called it a "dream scenario" to have the opportunity to use Stoudemire as a resource for the Jewish athletes, according to the Times report:
“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. We figured that if he said yes, this would be a big recruiting tool. [A]mar’e was nothing but enthusiastic."
The Maccabiah Games is the third-largest athletic event in the world, behind only the Olympics and the Asian Games. More than 8,500 athletes from 70 countries are expected to compete when the games kick off in July.
The head coach of the team, John Dore, used a connection to Glen Grunwald, executive vice president of the Knicks, to reach out to Stoudemire. Dore initially made the offer to Stoudemire inside the training room at the Knicks' practice facility during New York's playoff series last season against the Miami Heat. The oft-injured Knicks forward is currently rehabbing a knee surgery and hopes to return to the Knicks lineup for the playoffs, which begin in two weeks.
According to the report, Stoudemire worked with the players at last summer's tryouts, paying "particular attention to the big men, advising them on effective post moves, pump fakes and passes out of a zone."
The team he'll coach this year tips off its first game July 19. Dore said he's excited for all of the things Stoudemire will bring to the team this summer:
"What he’ll bring to the team is individual skill development. He’ll also be learning about himself, as to whether he wants to pursue a coaching career. This is his first go-round in coaching. It’ll be a great experience for him.”