NBA great Amar'e Stoudemire announced his retirement as a player in the National Basketball Association today, after signing with the New York Knickerbockers for his final contract in the league.
"I want to thank Mr. Dolan, Phil [Jackson] and Steve [Mills] for signing me so that I can officially retire as a New York Knick," Stoudemire said. "I came to New York in 2010 to help revitalize this franchise and we did just that. Carmelo [Anthony], Phil and Steve have continued this quest, and with this year's acquisitions, the team looks playoff-bound once again. Although my career has taken me to other places around the country, my heart had always remained in the Big Apple. Once a Knick, Always a Knick."
July 8, 2010 marked one of the most memorable introductions in team annals as the 6-10 perennial All-Star - and one of the most dominant forwards of his era - took the stage of Madison Square Garden in front of a nation-wide media contingent. Stoudemire's arrival to the World's Most Famous Arena catapulted the Knicks into contention and ended a post-season drought to start a three-year playoff run. In just his first season in the Orange and Blue, the Lake Wales, FL native became the first Knick to be voted a starter in the NBA All-Star Game since Patrick Ewing (1997) by garnering over 1.6 million fan votes. At the conclusion of the 2010-11 season, the NBA announced that Stoudemire's No. 1 jersey had risen to fourth place on the NBA's list of most popular jerseys list.
"For parts of six years, Amar'e Stoudemire was the face of the New York Knicks franchise because of his excellence on the court and his dedication to our community and our fans across the world," Mills said. "When Amar'e asked us to retire as a Knick, we were honored to oblige."
In 14 NBA seasons, Stoudemire averaged 18.9 points (15,994 total) and 7.8 rebounds (6,632) in 846 career games for Phoenix, New York, Dallas and Miami. In addition to six NBA All-Star berths, he was named to five All-NBA Teams (two first teams, three second teams) and was the 2003 NBA Rookie of the Year. In international competition, Stoudemire represented the United States at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens and at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship in Las Vegas. As a member the Knicks, Stoudemire averaged 17.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in 255 games and helped win the 2012-13 Atlantic Division title. From Nov. 28-Dec. 15, 2010, Stoudemire broke the franchise's 48-year record held by Willie Naulls by scoring 30-plus-points in nine consecutive games.
A pillar of the New York-community and an important member of the organization, Stoudemire was a major participant in Garden of Dreams Foundation events and also organized an annual staff holiday meal to feed over 1,000 employees to show his appreciation for their hard work and dedication.
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