For as long as he's been in the NBA, New York Knicks standout Amar'e Stoudemire has gone by the nickname "STAT," an acronym for "Standing Tall And Talented." The name is tattooed on his right arm and also happens to describe Amar'e pretty well. He's proud, confident, and a positive role model. Not many professional athletes have enough of a sense of the world to get involved in the fashion industry and investigate family heritage in Israel.
In fact, Stoudemire has enough interests away from the court that he's decided it's time for a new nickname. He announced the change on Twitter this weekend:
I've been ordained the Renaissance Man. This is now my new nickname. Renaissance Man. You like it, I love it. Its not going to change @espn
So, did Amar'e just give himself a new nickname? Not quite, because chances are it came from Isiah Thomas. Here's what Zeke told the New York Daily News at this last weekend's FIU charity game (via PBT):
"I told (Stoudemire) the other day, the biggest thing he's done for these kids down here is not spending two hours on the gym floor talking about jumpers and layups. He spent two hours in the classroom with them, then came back and spent another two hours in the classroom with them. He's into learning more and being a true renaissance man."
If you're a Knicks fan, forget for a minute that Isiah is apparently chummy with one of the team's marquee players. Instead, focus on how Stoudemire's new nickname isn't just a cute title, but a legitimate source of pride. In a league where most players are basketball obsessives, Amar'e's sense of the world is refreshing.
It's also the kind of thing that might upset fans of the team he plays for. Both Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony seem to relish playing in New York for reasons not entirely related to basketball. (For instance, both are very into the fashion world.) Yet, as far as we've seen so far, they are both clearly committed to helping the Knicks work towards a championship, too. If they fail to reach that goal, it will likely have more to do with their deficiencies as basketball players (like playing defense) rather than a lack of focus.
Basketball weaknesses and disinterest sometimes look the same, depending on your point of view. But, for now, let's celebrate Stoudemire instead of criticizing him for wanting to be a more complete person. Would we get mad at a tax attorney for learning to paint?
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