This is an article from the Sept. 21, 2009 issue
After recoveringfrom season-ending surgery to repair a detached retina, the big guy stopped bythe studio to chat and shoot some hoops.
Dan Patrick: Youwanted a piece of me and I think you learned a lesson, didn't you?
Amar'e Stoudemire:You can shoot a little bit. You caught me off guard with your shot.
DP: Sort of aSteve Kerr--like shot. If I'm open, I'll make it.
AS: Yeah, a littleMark Price, Steve Kerr--ish.
DP: If you lookedfor the perfect shooter, who would that be?
AS: You couldmaybe say Glen Rice, you could maybe say Reggie Miller. I'd probably go GlenRice. Just the purest jump shooter.
DP: How was thesurgery?
AS: It went great.My eye's doing well.
DP: What was itlike not knowing what you were going to see or feel like when you woke up?
AS: Very scary.The doctors did a good job explaining what my vision would be like after theprocedure. But it wasn't fun at all. I had to lie facedown for 22 hours a dayfor 10 straight days for it to heal.
DP: What were youlooking at on the floor?
AS: I had mylaptop, a couple of DVDs, a lot of reading. A little Twitter, a little Facebookaction.
DP: The Suns wentfrom competing for a championship to missing the playoffs last year. Where doyou stand in the Western Conference?
AS: Obviouslyyou've got the Lakers—and much respect to them—but we're right there. We've gotour core guys: myself, Steve [Nash], Grant [Hill] and Jason Richardson areback.
DP: Why didn'tShaq work out in Phoenix?
AS: I don't know.We could have made the playoffs if I didn't get injured for the last 29 gamesof the season. I don't think any teams in the postseason wanted to see myselfand Shaq in the low post. It took some adjusting to Shaq. Bringing him in forjust one year, we didn't have enough time.
DP: Did you lobbyfor management to keep him?
AS: I definitelywanted to take one more shot at it. Shaq is one of the players I watched as akid growing up, so to play with him was almost like a fantasy team. But [G.M.Steve Kerr] made a solid decision, and with the team we have now we're going tobe successful.
DP: Is Clevelandthe team to beat now that LeBron has Shaq?
AS: No, I thinkthe Lakers are still the team to beat. Especially with Ron Artest.
DP: How many timeshave you been hit in the head by a Steve Nash pass you weren't expecting?
AS: Steve is sucha great ball handler, so when he dribbles you don't know where he's going togo. And then he throws a no-look at you. You catch it right square in the headat times.
DP: You recentlywent to Sierra Leone. What did you see?
AS: A lot ofpoverty. I went there to build water wells. A lot of tribes in Sierra Leonedon't have fresh water, and they get sick and die off because they're drinkingtheir own waste for water. So I teamed up with a guy in Africa and we built twoor three wells. After that I started donating more money to the country, I satdown with the president to come up with a plan for how we can better thecountry. And he made me a goodwill ambassador.
DP: Did you feelsafe?
AS: Definitely.Their military had me totally secure. Right now it's not the best place tovisit, but we're getting it there.
Kentucky coachJohn Calipari came on the show and discussed the expectations he's facing fromthe hoops-crazy fans in the Bluegrass State. I asked him to finish thissentence: "If we don't make the NCAA tournament this year...." Cal'sresponse: "There will be for sale signs in my front yard."
Last week ondanpatrick.com, we polled DanNation to find out which team will be the NFL'sworst. It says something about the Raiders that they beat out the Lions, whowent 0--16 last year. If my listeners are right, the Chargers are going towaltz into the playoffs—the other three teams in the AFC West finished in thebottom four.
Line of theweek
Former All-Prosafety Rodney Harrison described how he would have handled being traded to theRaiders, as former Patriots teammate Richard Seymour was: "I would'vedriven to Chicago, taken the elevator to the top of the Sears Tower and jumpedoff." (Yes, Chicagoans, I know it's now the Willis Tower, but you get theidea.)
Now Hear This
Listen to thepodcasts at danpatrick.com/interviews
1. Hall of FamerRonnie Lott looks at the 2009 NFL season.
2. Rocker DariusRucker talks NFL and fantasy football.
THE FINE PRINT:Michael Jordan's Hall of Fame induction last Friday drew a record crowd. AndJack Haley made $500 parking cars.