TEL AVIV – Retired NBA forward Amar’e Stoudemire has reportedly closed a deal to play with the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team, which he co-owns.
The 33-year-old All-Star is slated to hold a press conference Monday in Jerusalem at which he is expected to officially announce the deal.
He is also expected to discuss his reasons for leaving the NBA last week after a 14-year career.
Citing unnamed sources, ESPN said that “Stoudemire’s move to join Hapoel Jerusalem as an active player is now a mere formality.”
Part of his visit to Israel is on behalf of the charity NBA Cares, organized by a foundation belonging to Omri Casspi of the Sacramento Kings, the NBA’s first Israeli player.
Stoudemire, who describes himself as “spiritually and culturally Jewish,” has a deep affiliation with the Jewish state. He claims to keep kosher and celebrates the High Holidays.
“I’m not a religious person, I’m more of a spiritual person, so I follow the rules of the Bible that coordinate with and connect with the Hebrew culture,” Stoudemire said.
“You have to read the book to get an understanding. The Bible is a history book. The ultimate goal is to … start to live the actual Scriptures instead of reading about [them]. It’s the actions that count,” he said.
In July 2013, Stoudemire announced he had become part owner of Hapoel Jerusalem. Last year, the team won the Israeli championship for the first time ever and is set to play in the EuroCup later this year.
Stoudemire is a six-time NBA All-Star for the Knicks, and has career averages of 18.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. He began his professional career with the Phoenix Suns.