The Times of Israel reports: American basketball star Amar’e Stoudemire said he decided to leave the NBA to play for Hapoel Jerusalem for ideological rather than financial reasons.
“I turned down a lot of money in the NBA to play for Israel, so it’s not about the money at all, it’s about winning championships,” he said in an interview published Monday on the Walla website.
Stoudemire said he hopes to help encourage and develop basketball in Israel both by playing in the country and by encouraging other foreign players to do so.
“Hopefully it opens the doors for others to come here,” he said.
The newest Hapoel star arrived in Israel on Friday as part of a group of NBA players and celebrities brought by Israeli basketball player Omri Casspi.
Stoudemire also addressed Israeli media reports about his ability to play on Israel’s national team, telling Walla that, “If I receive [Israeli] citizenship, I’ll play on the national team.”
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