AMAR’E STOUDEMIRE (center) poses with his brand-new Teudat Zeut, while being surrounded by Jeruslem Mayor Moshe Lion (left) and Interior Minister Arye Deri after being granted citizenship on Wednesday.
(photo credit: DOV HALICKMAN PHOTOGRAPHY/COURTESY)
Just before Hapoel Jerusalem defeated Neptunas 84-64 in the second game of their two-game Champions League round-of-16 series to advance to the quarterfinals of the competition, former NBA All-Star and Reds center Amar’e Stoudemire received Israeli citizenship at Interior Minister Arye Deri’s office in the capital.
Surrounded by Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, Hapoel Jerusalem owner Eyal Homsky, CEO and General Manager Guy Harel, Deri stated that, “Amar’e is an international player who will be a worldwide ambassador for the State.”
At the festive gathering, Stoudemire was presented with his Teudat Zehut ID Card and citizenship papers.
“This has been a pretty exciting moment for myself,” said Stoudemire. “My body is filled with so many different emotions. My love for Israel is something that has been growing for a long time. For me to be at a moment where I can truly be a part of Israel is special.”
Stoudemire also spoke about playing for Israel going forward.
“Representing Israel on a sporting point of view is very important to me,” he said. Hopefully in the near future I will be able to represent Israel on a national level and world level in the realm of sports.”
The center then told The Jerusalem Post about his feelings about becoming a citizen.
“I am very excited. My learning since I was a youth brought me to visit Israel and eventually living and playing for the team here in Jerusalem. It just shows that if you stay consistent with your learnings you never know what can happen in the future. It’s definitely been a blessing for me.”
Meanwhile on the hardwood at the Pais Arena, Jerusalem moved on to the next round of the Champions League with an aggregate score of 170-138 over the two game series against Neptunas from Klaipeda, Lithuania. The Reds will now face Tenerife from Spain in another two-game series with the winner moving on to the Final Four.
Stoudemire led the way for Jerusalem with 15 points, Tashawn Thomas scored 13 points and collected eight rebounds, while Da’Sean Butler and James Feldeine rounded out the double digit scorers with 11 points each.
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