Tag Archives: NBA Rookie of the Year

Jew of the Week: Amar’e Stoudemire

Things You Didn’t Know About the Basketball Legend

Amar’e Stoudemire (Courtesy: JNF)

Amar’e Stoudemire (b. 1982) was born near Orlando, Florida. He started playing basketball in high school, though he only managed to play two full seasons because his struggling family had to move six times. Despite this, his incredible talents were clear and he was named Florida’s Mr. Basketball. Ranked as the number one prospect in 2002, Stoudemire skipped college to go straight to the NBA, getting drafted in the first round by the Phoenix Suns. In his rookie season, he set a points record and won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award—the first player straight out of high school to do so. After coming very close to the championship many times in Phoenix, Stoudemire tried his luck with the New York Knicks. There he set a franchise record with nine straight games where he scored over 30 points, then led the team to the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade. Unfortunately, Stoudemire suffered many injuries, including to his knees, his spinal discs, and even retinal damage to his eye. He retired from the NBA in 2016 after 14 seasons, 6 All-Star appearances, and 15,994 points. Having always known his mother was part of the Black Hebrew Israelites, Stoudemire decided to fulfil an old dream and move to Israel to explore his heritage more closely. Meanwhile, he signed with Hapoel Jerusalem and led the team to an Israeli Basketball championship. After two seasons, Stoudemire retired and soon began the Orthodox conversion process. He completed his conversion last summer, taking on the Jewish name Yehoshafat. At the same time, he returned for one more season with Maccabi Tel Aviv and led them to the 2020 Israeli Basketball championship, also winning the League MVP award. Last October, he was hired by the Brooklyn Nets as an assistant coach. He recently made news when the Nets gave him Shabbat off, so he does not appear on the court from Friday to Saturday evening. Stoudemire has been praised both for his extensive volunteer and philanthropic work, as well as his devotion to Torah and Judaism. Over the course of his career, Stoudemire has also appeared in a number of TV shows and films, had a Nike shoe line and his own clothing line, published a series of children’s books, owns a record label, and a kosher winery called Stoudemire Cellars. He also started an educational program where Black and Jewish youth can learn and play basketball together. Stoudemire continues to learn Torah regularly and serves as an inspirational figure to thousands both on and off the court.

Words of the Week

I was always intrigued with the prophets, I was always intrigued by how these guys carried themselves. How they lived their life, how they were so on point with everything, from a righteous standpoint. And so my mindset was like, ‘How do I get to that level?’ It’s a heavy lift, it’s not easy, I’m not sure it’s possible. And so that is what somewhat gave me my love to continue my search, continue to try to clean myself up, clean my character, understand how to carry myself, how to speak properly, how to not use profanity, how to not say certain words, not speak lashon hara.
– Amar’e Stoudemire

Jew of the Week: Dolph Schayes

Dolph Schayes - Basketball Superstar

Dolph Schayes – Basketball Superstar

Adolph Schayes (b. 1928) was born in New York to Romanian-Jewish immigrants. Growing up playing basketball, he led his high school team to the championships, then earned an engineering degree while playing college basketball. Schayes was drafted by both the New York Knicks and Tri-City Blackhawks in 1948, though he ended up playing in Syracuse, winning the 1949 NBA Rookie of the Year. His height (6’8″) and high-arcing shot (nicknamed “Sputnik”) made him a powerful player. Most amazingly, Schayes once broke his arm, but continued to play the entire season in a cast! He learned to play with his weaker arm, making him even more deadly on the court. Year after year, Schayes dominated the league stats, set records, and led his team to be NBA Champions in 1955. In 1961 he became the first player to reach 30,000 PRA (points, rebounds and assists). He retired having been a twelve-time All-Star, with records for number of games played, both attempted and successful foul shots, and second overall in scoring. He is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, and was ranked one of the 50 best NBA players of all time. He also won an NBA Coach of the Year award in 1966, and strangely, once served as both a coach and a player in the same season. Patriarch of a talented sports family, Dolph’s son Danny Schayes played 18 seasons in the NBA, while his granddaughters won silver medals on the U.S. Volleyball team, and his grandson is a gold medalist relay sprinter. Schayes now works as a real estate developer in the Syracuse area.

UPDATE: Sadly, Dolph Schayes passed away on December 10, 2015.


Words of the Week

…a scattered people, dispersed over the world, enslaved, persecuted, scorned by all nations, nonetheless preserving its characteristics, its laws, its customs, its patriotic love of the early social union, when all ties with it seem broken. The Jews provide us with an astonishing spectacle: the laws of Numa, Lycurgus, Solon are dead; the very much older laws of Moses are still alive. Athens, Sparta, Rome have perished and no longer have children left on earth; Zion, destroyed, has not lost its children.
– Jean-Jacques Rousseau