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Amaré Carsares Stoudemire (born November 16, 1982 in Lake Wales, Florida) is an American professional basketball player for the NBA's Phoenix Suns. He is a 6 ft 10 in (2.09 m) and 249 lb (113 kg) power forward/center. He is also currently on the USA national team that will compete in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Stoudemire's father died when he was twelve, and his mother Carrie was in and out of prison during that time also. As it was difficult for Stoudemire to get situated, he attended six different high schools before graduating from Cypress Creek High School in Orlando, Florida. He told Isaac Perry in an article for Dime Magazine that what kept him going in that time period was God and the words of rapper Tupac Shakur. Stoudemire only played two years of high school-level basketball, but in those two years he was the MVP of the Nike summer league. He had committed to play collegiately at the University of Memphis but never attended the school, instead declaring for the NBA draft due to his desire to quickly help out his family's problems. The Phoenix Suns decided on him with their ninth pick in the draft due to a need for inside strength at the time. Phoenix was the only team that year to select a high school player in the first round.
2002-2003 (Rookie Season)
Stoudemire is considered one of the best finishers in the NBA, with an ability to slam dunk over bigger players. Along with his explosive athletic ability, he has a solid work ethic. Over time, he has developed a dependable 15-foot jump shot, while expanding on his offensive moves underneath the basket. Stoudemire's first season was, at the time, the most successful ever by a high school rookie, averaging 13.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, with a high of 38 points (the highest score by a prep-to-pro player until broken a year later by LeBron James) against the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 30, 2002, only his 31st game as a professional. At the end of the season, Stoudemire beat out Houston Rockets center Yao Ming and Miami Heat forward Caron Butler to win the NBA's Rookie of the Year award, becoming the first player ever drafted out of high school to win it (once again broken that next year by LeBron James).
The following season, Stoudemire improved statistically, but his team stumbled to a 29-53 record, and the self-proclaimed best point guard in the NBA, Stephon Marbury, was traded to the New York Knicks. During the summer of 2004, Stoudemire was selected to play for the United States national team in the 2004 Summer Olympics. However, head coach Larry Brown declined to give him significant playing time over established NBA stars.
During the 2004-05 NBA season, Stoudemire teamed up with point guard Steve Nash to lead the Suns to a 62-20 record. Averaging 26 points per game that year and achieving a new career high of 50 points against the Portland Trail Blazers on January 2, 2005, he was selected to his first National Basketball Association All-Star Game as a reserve forward. In the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, Stoudemire performed brilliantly, averaging 37 points during the series. However, the Suns were eliminated 4 games to 1.
During the 2005-2006 NBA pre-season, knee cartilage damage was discovered and Stoudemire underwent microfracture surgery on October 18, 2005. Initially, the Suns thought he would return by mid-February, but his rehab took longer than expected. Stoudemire, however, made an attempt to return but did not play well, going scoreless against the New Jersey Nets on March 27, 2006. On March 28 it was announced that he would likely miss the rest of the regular season due to ongoing stiffness in both knees. His manager stated that the comeback happened a little too soon, and Stoudemire needed to do more rehab. While many are anxious to see his trademark explosiveness, the risk of reinjuring his knee still exists. The Suns performed much better than expected in his absence in the 2005-06 season, once again winning the division.
Stoudemire's rehabilitation, which was led by Suns trainer Aaron Nelson and Dr. Micheal Clark, the president and CEO of the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) went well as he stated during the rehab that he was pretty explosive and he gradually gained his strength back. He attended the 2006 USA Basketball Camp in Las Vegas. His athletic trainers stated that he had no swelling since his most recent surgery and his strength and flexibility have been "better than ever: almost like superman"
Before the 2006-07 season, Stoudemire changed his jersey number from 32 to 1.
Stoudemire joined the United States national team once and began practicing with the international team in July, but was dropped from the squad for its trip to Asia because coach Mike Krzyzewski believed he needed a proper chance to fully recover from his knee injuries.
On February 18, 2007, Stoudemire appeared in the 2007 NBA All-Star Game, his second NBA All-Star Game appearance on He scored 29 points and grabbed 9 rebounds, and came in second in MVP voting to winner Kobe Bryant. He had previously announced that he would make the All Star Game in his first season back after his knee recovered.
During the 2007 NBA Playoffs, in a series against the San Antonio Spurs, Stoudemire accused Manu Ginobili and Bruce Bowen of being "dirty" players. Stoudemire was suspended for Game 5 for leaving the bench area after an altercation between guard Steve Nash and Robert Horry. The Suns lost to the Spurs in six games.
The next season was his best to date, he once again made the all star team but the most significant event was the acquisition of Shaquille O'Neal which allowed Amare to move from the center position back to the forward which he thrived early in his career.