Amar’e Stoudemire Returns to Hapoel Jerusalem Basketball Team

Comeback conditioned on 35-year-old ex-NBA Allstar not finding a squad in US top league that will take him
Hapoel Jerusalem basketball player Amar'e Stoudemire seen during the match between Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Jerusalem at the National Cup final game in Jerusalem, on February 16, 2017. Photo: Flash90

Amar’e Stoudemire will return to the basketball court next season, and will do so in Israel unless he finds an NBA team.

The 35-year-old ex-NBA Allstar has spent the last season off court, but will return to the Hapoel Jerusalem team, which he partly owns and for which he played in the 2016/17 season, the team said Sunday.

 

With his help, Hapoel won the Israeli championship and reached the semifinals of the EuroCup tournament.

Still, many of his Israeli fans were disappointed when he announced his departure from Hapoel in September 2017.

Stoudemire’s return to the Israeli team is conditioned on him not finding an NBA squad that will take him.

“I’m very happy to have Amar’e back,” said Hapoel Jerusalem’s current coach Oded Katash, quoted by Israeli media. “It is no secret that both sides wanted to renew their collaboration.”

“There is no need to elaborate on Amar’e’s ability to contribute to Hapoel on all fronts, including in his professionalism and the leadership ability he brings both on and off the court,” he said.

“I’m sure that when he will be here, we will all benefit,” Katash added.

Stoudemire identifies with the Hebrew Israelites, African-Americans who believe they are connected to the biblical Israelites, and observes Jewish holidays. For years he has claimed to have Hebrew roots, studied Judaism and practiced its cultural customs.

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