Last month, Daily Intelligencer broke the news that Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire was applying for Israeli citizenship, and last night at the debut of the Metropolitan Opera’s new season at Lincoln Center, we received a progress report from the man himself. Stoudemire — decked out in a tux, what appeared to be a bowler hat, and a gem-encrusted gold panther head pinned to his lapel — told us that the citizenship process was “going well” and that he’s now “close” to becoming an official Israeli. He said that while there’s “no pressure” for him to play for the Israeli national team once he becomes a citizen, “It would be great. But we’ll have to wait and see.”
Stoudemire’s passion for Judaism was readily apparent when the conversation moved to the topic of Jewish holidays. “I love the Passover. Passover is a great holy day,” he told us when we asked about his favorite one.
His wife, Alexis Welch, chimed in, “I love our Sabbath dinners, though!” — a sentiment with which Stoudemire readily concurred.
“Sabbaths are awesome,” he said.
“All of our friends and family come over, so that’s so much fun,” Welch added.
At the same time, Stoudemire and Welch try to take the Sabbath seriously by avoiding technology — or at least that’s the goal. “We try,” Stoudemire said. “We really try.”