Amar'e Stoudemire, a six-time NBA All-Star and current Knicks forward, jumped straight to the pros in 2002 after racking up numerous accolades and a scholarship offer from the University of Memphis. The Cypress High standout was named Mr. Basketball in Florida and was selected ninth overall in the '02 draft by the Phoenix Suns, with whom he spent eight seasons before signing with New York as a free agent in 2010. Here's a look at some rarely seen photos of the 6-foot-11 star.
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Stoudemire didn't take up organized basketball until he was 14. He played just two years of high-school ball, averaging 29.1 point, 15 boards and 6.1 blocks as a senior at Cypress High.
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He was picked to play in the 2002 McDonald's All-American Game, roughly two months before becoming an NBA player.
4 of 25Robert Beck/SI
That looks fun.
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Former NBA player and current Chinese Basketball League star, Stephon Marbury, poses with Stoudemire during the 2003 All-Star weekend.
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Stoudemire takes a break on set during the filming of a new NBA League Pass promo in 2003 at the NBA Entertaiment Offices in Secaucus, N.J.
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UNC coach and Team USA assistant Roy Williams worked with Stoudemire during a training session for the U.S. Olympic team ahead of the 2004 Games in Athens. Team USA, dubbed the "Nightmare Team" that year, lost to Argentina in the semifinals and came away with just a bronze medal.
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Amar'e seems quite pleased with what he sees in the mirror. Wonder if he does this every morning.
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Stoudemire got educated about the New York Stock Exchange from Catherine R. Kinney, NYSE President and Co-Chief Operating Officer, after he rang the exchange opening bell in 2005.
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Just showing off his Rolls Royce. No big deal.
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Stoudemire's many injuries (knee, eye, back) have made this scene all too familiar.
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One Phoenix fan was clearly dissatisfied with the NBA's suspension of Stoudemire and Boris Diaw after the two violated a league rule by leaving the bench area after Spurs' Robert Horry's flagrant foul on Steve Nash in the final seconds of Game 4 of the 2007 Western Conference semifinals.
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STAT ("Standing Tall and Talented," his nickname) and former NFL great Jerry Rice buddy up at the Cedars-Sinai Sports Spectacular in June 2007.
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Stoudemire pretended to be a Diamondbacks fan while he was with the Suns. But he had no problem switching allegiances to the Yankees when he signed in New York. What a fan.
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Stoudemire and his son, in the cutest pregame warmup. Possibly ever.
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Some media day fun with former teammates Shaq and Steve Nash.
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Muhammad Ali looks completely uninterested in whatever Amar'e was saying before the 2009 NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix.
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This is why he plays basketball and not baseball.
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Pick the most awkward pose: Exhibit A ...
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Exhibit B ...
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Or Exhibit C. We're gonna go with C.
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A creepy closeup of the specs.
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Stoudemire and Knicks teammate Carmelo Anthony teamed up with Sesame Street on the set of "Saturday Night Live."
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Stoudemire, who came out with a fashion line with designer Rachel Roy, attended a runway show at New York's Fashion Week in September 2011.
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Stoudemire unveiled new, futuristic goggles for the 2012-13 season.
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