It takes a special kind of athlete to take on New York. Many have come and tried to take the city by storm and have failed miserably. The New York Knicks haven’t had an icon player since Patrick Ewing. This all changed in 2010 when a 27-year-old power forward decided to leave Phoenix to play under the brightest light in the world, New York City.
Many people forget how important it was that Amar’e Stoudemire chose to play the prime of his career as a Knick.
Stoudemire made it cool again to play for the Knicks.
LeBron James didn’t want to come. As Amar’e said, “maybe he couldn’t handle the pressure of New York.
Dwyane Wade wasn’t leaving his warm home in Miami.
Chris Bosh followed wherever his two cooler friends told him to go.
Joe Johnson wanted his money in Atlanta, and with hindsight that worked out for the Knicks.
Carlos Boozer wanted nothing to do with New York, and thankfully New York wanted nothing to do with Carlos Boozer.
Stoudemire wasn’t like the rest of the superstars. Sure the $100 million contract the Knicks gave him might have been the ultimate bargaining chip, but Amar’e didn’t have to come here for the money. He could have stayed with Steve Nash and made more money as a Phoenix Sun. He could have went to Chicago with Derrick Rose. Who knows, maybe he could have been with the Heat instead of Bosh. But he chose the Knicks.
He wanted New York, and New York needed him.
The Knicks that we see on that court today that we love didn’t come over night, and also didn’t come as soon as STAT arrived. The roster when Stoudemire took the court for the first time looked like this:
PG: Raymond Felton, Toney Douglas
SG: Wilson Chandler, Kelenna Azubuike, Andy Rautins
SF: Danillo Gallinari, Bill Walker, Landry Fields
PF: Amar’e Stoudemire, Anthony Randolph
C: Ronny Turiaf, Jerome Jordan, Eddy Curry
Yeah so when Stoudemire came, the Knicks were still picking up Eddy Curry’s buffet tab. Now we have Tyson Chandler grabbing 20 rebounds in his sleep.
How things have changed.
If Stoudemire never set the trend for being a Knick, we wouldn’t be where we are today. There would be no Carmelo Anthony. There would be no Tyson. There would be no Jason Kidd. There would be no J.R. Smith.
Not only was Amar’e a huge part of the Knicks success, he is currently one of the team leaders. How many superstar athletes making $20 million would gladly accept coming off the bench? How many would say “Sure Coach, anything to help my team win.” Not many would brace that role with open arms, but as Amar’e been doing since he got here, he knows the name on the front of his jersey means more than the name on the back of the jersey.
As Amar’e is winning back the hearts of New Yorkers and showing he still has a lot left in the tank, we must thank him for all he has done. He made playing basketball in the world’s most famous arena the thing to do. He put the Knicks back on the map and gave New York the buzz it has now.
Thanks Amar’e, now let’s go win that ring! (Just avoid any fire extinguishers).