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Is it a little weird Amare wanted to retire a Knick? Yeah, but I don’t care.

Amare Stoudemire (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Amare Stoudemire (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)


I’ve been a New York Knicks fan my whole life. However, I’ve really only been an “NBA” fan since the summer of 2010, when I was a rising sophomore in high school. That was the year that Amare Stoudemire was acquired by the Knicks in a trade from the Phoenix Suns for a 2nd round draft pick. He was the first professional athlete  I can remember rooting for that I really considered a star, and that first season, he lived up to the hype.

Amare missed only four games that first season on the Knicks. He averaged 25.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and just under 2 blocks per game. He came, he saw and he conquered.  He was easily the best player on the Knicks’ roster in years. The biggest problem for the Knicks that season was the same one that has always plagued this team. We had, to put it nicely, a less than stellar supporting cast of players. The ones that had any worth basically all got shipped away anyway in the Carmelo trade. Even with those impediments, the team went 42-40, made it to the first round of the playoffs and were swept by the Boston Celtics. But at least we were above .500 and in the playoffs. Then, almost as quickly as he became a force to be reckoned with in the Big Apple, his superhuman like powers seemed to disappear. This superman had found his kryptonite. It was his knees. His next three and a half seasons on the Knicks were characterized by his quickly failing health, specifically his injury plagued knees, and frankly, below standard play. He was then waived in the middle of the 2014-2015 season. It was over just as quickly as it began.

So when he signed a ceremonial one-day contract with the Knicks last week for the sole purpose of  announcing his retirement as a Knick, I thought this was a strange turn of events. In his prime, Stat was one of the biggest offensive forces in the league. The Knicks really only got the benefit of one year of that level of play from him. Even as a die-hard Knicks fan, I’d be lying if I said he played anything other than his best ball in Phoenix. He had 5 of his 6 six all-star selections, a rookie of the year award in 02-03, and 4 of his 5 All-NBA team selections while he was a Phoenix Sun. The 255 games that he played in a Knicks uniform are less than half of the 516 games that he played for the Suns. His best days were with the Suns.  Why sign with the Knicks, just to retire as a Knick when the Suns were his glory days? For lack of a better phrase, it just doesn’t really make all that much sense. His Knicks career pales in comparison to his time with the Suns. So why retire a Knick?

The reasoning behind this decision is best expressed by the man himself. “Although my career has taken me to other places around the country, my heart had always remained in the Big Apple,” Stoudemire said in the Knicks release. “Once a Knick, Always a Knick.” It’s for this reason that I gladly accept him back with open arms. He wanted to be here and that should be reason enough for Knicks fans to send him off.

However, there is a wrinkle or two in this narrative. In an interview with “The Arizona Republic” Stoudemire said that “That would’ve been the perfect way to go out,” in regards to finishing his career in Phoenix. He says that he made attempts over the last two offseasons to return to his first home in Phoenix to close out his career. The Suns apparently did not share his sentiment though. So when it came time to finally throw in the NBA towel he had this to say, “I didn’t want to beg Phoenix. My heart was in two places — Phoenix and New York. I just went where I was wanted.” Shame on the Suns. How do you turn away one of your franchise’s best players ever? After seeing this there’s no question why Amare made the decision that he did. After all, don’t we all want to be wanted?

Though the opportunity to form a bond was fleeting, I’m glad that Amare felt the same connection to NY as we did to him. For a brief period of time, Amare was the lone photon of light escaping from the black hole that was the Knicks franchise. He gave an entire fan-base hope in a time where hope was about as common as a potato in 1850’s Ireland. That is something that can’t be measured or quantified.

So even with logic pointing towards Phoenix, it was his big orange and blue heart that brought him back to New York. People may disagree, but in my eyes, Amare Stoudemire is one of the best Knicks to ever put on a uniform and we should be happy to have him as one of our own.

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