(JTA) — Amare Stoudemire of the New York Knicks reportedly said he is a practicing Jew "spiritually and culturally."
Stoudemire, who last month visited Israel on a spiritual journey to explore his Jewish roots, made the comments in an interview with Page Six of The New York Post. He also said that he is keeping kosher.
The NBA All-Star joined the Knicks this summer as a free agent. He formerly played for the Phoenix Suns. Stoudemire reportedly decided to visit Israel after learning that his mother was Jewish.
Stoudemire told the newspaper that he is continuing his Jewish studies. "I figure, what the scriptures speak about, that’s what I celebrate," he said. He has reportedly been studying the Bible since he was young.
Some have suggested that Stoudemire is exploring Judaism as a way to help the Knicks sell more tickets, a charge that the star player denies.
Stoudemire told Page Six that he will celebrate the High Holidays, but will not miss any games for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. "Playing the games are my livelihood," he said. "But I’m still going to celebrate the holidays."