Richard Gibson/Staff Writer
As part of a collaboration with Hillel, Amare Stoudemire visited and spoke at FIU on behalf of his own foundation.
The Amare Stoudemire Foundation has partnered with Hillel in an initiative to bring together Jewish and African-American students at FIU. Hillel is a community that helps Jewish students at FIU through experience, education, and the exchanging of ideas. The Amare Stoudemire Foundation is a worldwide program that helps to inspire and help the youth to succeed.
Stoudemire is a former basketball player who played for the Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, and the Miami Heat. After retiring from the NBA, he went on to play in the Israeli Premier League. During his time in the NBA, he was a six-time NBA All-star, a part of the All-NBA First Team, and won the Rookie of the Year Award in 2003.
Stoudemire is Jewish and took it upon himself to learn as much about the religion as he could. Speaking in the Graham Center, Stoudemire went over his early years, his basketball career, and being a popular Jewish figure, as well as answering questions from the crowd.
“Most people around the world think that athletes are dumb jocks, and they have no education. That’s not true, and in order for those things to not be true, you have to prove it, and that’s my mission. We’re trying to provide a nice program for everyone- lunches, dinners, music, and a nice atmosphere for all of us.” said Stoudemire
Stoudemire has visited Israel multiple times, and credits his time discovering the Jewish religion in person as an important step in his life, and recommends to not be afraid of leaving your comfort zone, and visiting and learning the unexpected. He also recommends to athletes who can’t find success in the pros to head overseas.
“If the NBA doesn’t work out, overseas is a great alternative. I didn’t know this until I actually played. You get to travel around the world, and you make solid money.” said Stoudemire
When asked about how the Amare Stoudemire Foundation and Hillel will educate students about Jewish culture, Stoudemire responded “We’re going to create a platform where we’ll discuss all of these things. We’re going to have talks, learning centers, and different opportunities to spread information.”
Stoudemire’s speech is a kickoff to a host of events at the Graham Center, including workshops, seminars, and a chance for student leaders to attend a “Fact Finder” trip to Israel.