JERUSALEM (JTA) — Former NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire will return to the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team, if he does not find a spot in the NBA, the Israeli squad said.
The team made the announcement Sunday, saying that Stoudemire’s return was conditioned on his NBA possibilities. Stoudemire later said that he had not signed a contract with Hapoel Jerusalem but would be speaking with the team.
Stoudemire played for the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns among other teams in a 16-year NBA career.
The 6-10 forward played for Hapoel Jerusalem for a year, and left in September 2017, citing a desire to return to the NBA. The Israeli media reported at the time that he had a rocky relationship with the Hapoel Jerusalem coach and his son was barred from playing on a local team because he is not an Israeli citizen.
Stoudemire is a partial owner of Hapoel, which he had to suspend in order to play.
During the 2016-17 season, the team with his help won Israeli championships and reached the semifinals of the EuroCup tournament.
Stoudemire identifies with the Hebrew Israelites, African-Americans who believe they are connected to the biblical Israelites, and observes Jewish holidays. He told HBO sports reporter Jon Frankel at an event at Harvard University in April that he is “in the process” of converting to Judaism.