Stoudemire played high school basketball for six different schools, before graduating from Cypress Creek High School and declaring for the NBA draft as a prep-to-pro player. In high school, Stoudemire won several honors most notably being selected as Mr. Basketball for the state of Florida. He was selected in the first round with the ninth overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns and would spend eight seasons with them before signing with the New York Knicks. Stoudemire is listed at 6 feet 11 inches (211 cm) and 245 pounds (111 kg).
Although Stoudemire has suffered from chronic knee problems and has undergone microfracture surgery on his knees, he has won the 2003 NBA Rookie of the Year Award, made six appearances in the NBA All-Star Game, was a first-team All-NBA selection in 2007, and won a bronze medal with the United States men's nationa basketball team at the 2004 Olympic Games.
His off-court ventures include a record label, a clothing line, acting and a series of children's books for Scholastic Press.
Stoudemire's first name had previously been listed in the Phoenix Suns media guide as Amaré or Amare, but it was changed to Amar'e in October 2008. Stoudemire told NBA.com that his name had always been spelled Amar'e, but the media had been spelling it incorrectly since he joined the NBA.
Early life and career
Stoudemire was born in Lake Wales, Florida, a small city within an hour's drive of Orlando. Stoudemire's parents, Carrie and Hazell, divorced at a young age. Together they had two sons: Hazell Jr. and Amar'e. Stoudemire's mother did agricultural work, picking oranges in Florida, but she migrated north to Upstate New York during the fall to pick apples. Upon divorcing Hazell, she met another man, Artis Wilmore. Together they had a child, Marwan, who became Stoudemire's half brother. Hazell died of a heart attack when Stoudemire was 12, and his mother was in and out of prison for things such as petty theft and forgery during that time. Because his mother was in and out of jail, Stoudemire had other outside influences to help guide him. He occasionally stayed with a policeman named Burney Hayes; he also lived with a man named Travis King, who coached Fastbreak USA, Stoudemire's AAU squad, as well as a minister named Bill Williams. As a result of moving in-and-out, and his mother's problems with the law, he attended six different high schools in two different states. Due to all the transfers he missed his entire junior year of basketball. Stoudemire graduated from Cypress Creek High School in Orlando, Florida. He told Isaac Perry in an article for Dime Magazine that what kept him going in that time period was God and the words of rapper Tupac Shakur. Apart from basketball, Stoudemire excelled in football. Stoudemire was coached by his father in his Pop Warner football team as a child and saw himself as a star receiver for the University of Miami, Florida or Florida State. Growing up Stoudemire rooted for Shaquille O'Neal who played center for his hometown Orlando Magic.
He did not start playing organized basketball until he was 14. Stoudemire only played two years of high school-level basketball, but in those two years he was named the MVP of the Nike Summer League. In his senior year Stoudemire averaged 29.1 points, 15 rebounds, 6.1 blocked shots, and 2.1 steals per game. Stoudemire obtained several honors in high school. He was selected to play in the 2002 McDonald's All-American Game, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, where he played with two future New York Knicks teammates, Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton. He was also named Florida's Mr. Basketball and the Orlando Sentinel Florida High School Player of the Year, in addition to earning a spot on USA Today's All-USA Basketball First Team. In high school Stoudemire noted that his biggest goal was to make it as a NBA player. Stoudemire through high school was able to make good grades and committed to John Calipari and the University of Memphis; however, he later de-committed and declared for the NBA draft. The Phoenix Suns decided on him with the ninth pick in the 2002 NBA Draft. Phoenix was the only team that year to select a high school player in the first round.
Phoenix Suns (2002–10) Early years In his rookie season, Stoudemire averaged 13.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, with a season high of 38 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 30, 2002, the highest score by a prep-to-pro player until broken a year later by LeBron James. Stoudemire was selected to the Rookie squad in the Rookie Challenge. In the game, Stoudemire recorded 18 points, 7 rebounds and 4 steals. Stoudemire won the NBA's Rookie of the Year award, beating out Yao Ming and Caron Butler and becoming the first player drafted out of high school to win the award. Stoudemire also was selected to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. The Suns, led by Stoudemire, Stephon Marbury, Shawn Marion, Anfernee Hardaway and Joe Johnson, made it to the playoffs but were defeated in six games by the eventual champions, the San Antonio Spurs.
The following season, Stoudemire improved statistically, but his team stumbled to a 29–53 record, and point guard Marbury was traded to the New York Knicks. During the season Stoudemire had a 10-block game against the Utah Jazz; he recorded six blocks in the first quarter alone (both team records as of 2012). During the summer of 2004, Stoudemire was selected to play for the eventual bronze medal-winning United States national team in the 2004 Summer Olympics. However, head coach Larry Brown declined to give him significant playing time.
During the 2004–05 NBA season, Stoudemire teamed up with point guard Steve Nash who the Suns signed as a free agent, to lead the Suns to a 62–20 record. Averaging 26 points per game that year and achieving a new career high of 50 points against the Portland Trail Blazers on January 2, 2005, he was selected to his first NBA All-Star Game as a reserve forward. Stoudemire participated in the slam dunk contest. Stoudemire and Nash ran a pick-and-roll many have compared to Hall of Famers John Stockton and Karl Malone. In the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, Stoudemire performed magnificently , averaging 37 points per game, but the Suns lost in five games.
New York Knicks (2010–present)
On June 30, 2010, Stoudemire opted out of his contract with the Phoenix Suns, which made him an unrestricted free agent. On July 5, 2010, Stoudemire and the New York Knicks agreed in principle to a contract estimated to be worth around $99.7 million over five years. On the first day that free agents were allowed to officially sign, the Knicks formally introduced Stoudemire at Madison Square Garden. There Stoudemire proclaimed "the Knicks are back!" referring to the team's lack of success the past few years. With the Knicks, Stoudemire was reunited with head coach Mike D'Antoni, who had coached him with the Suns. On December 15, 2010, in a loss against the Boston Celtics, Stoudemire set a franchise record with his ninth straight 30-point game. On December 17, 2010, Stoudemire set a franchise record with his ninth straight game shooting 50 percent or better from the field. On January 27, 2011, Stoudemire was named a starter on the Eastern Conference All-Star Team alongside LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, and Dwight Howard. He became the first Knick player to start in the game since Patrick Ewing. In the game Stoudemire scored 29 points, which tied him with LeBron James for most on the Eastern Conference team. On February 22, 2011 the Knicks made a 3-team trade with the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves that sent Nuggets superstar Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks along with the Nuggets' starting point guard Chauncey Billups. In 2011, the Knicks made the playoffs for the first time since 2004. Stoudemire was injured during the playoffs. In game 3, Stoudemire attempted a Willis Reed-like comeback by playing in the game despite a bad back. In the first round of the playoffs, the Knicks were swept by the Boston Celtics. Stoudemire ended up having one of the best seasons in his career, averaging 25.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2 blocks and a career high 2.6 assists. Stoudemire developed a mid-range game and shot a career high 43% from three point range. Stoudemire was named to the All-NBA Second Team.