Amar’e Stoudemire is now in his fifteenth NBA year and his first with the Miami Heat. However, he is most known for being the #9 draft pick in the 2002 NBA draft right out of high school for the Phoenix Suns. Also, as far as sneakers go, he has been connected with Nike the whole time (and even before the NBA controversially).
Regardless of how this relationship between the man known as STAT and Nike came about, the result has been a win for sneakerheads. As he celebrates his 33rd birthday, he might not be the player he once was thanks to injuries and father-time, but he can take solace in knowing his kick game has been strong since his rookie year.
Starting from his rookie year in the land of the Rising Sun, STAT made an impact from the get go. With the help of a strong veteran presence and strong play he was able to become the 2003 Rookie of the Year. During his 8 seasons with the Suns he was able to help the team to multiple Playoff appearances as well as wow us in the Dunk contest. But he was also part of the bronze-medal 2004 Olympic team. It was during those years when we would see both special kicks on and off court, with elephant print being a theme.
Sadly, injuries and high expectations in Phoenix pushed Amar’e to head to the Big Apple. As a member of the New York Knicks he showed flashes of his old self and embraced his role. That changed a bit with the trade for Carmelo Anthony and more injuries. It was with the Knicks — his up and down years — that lead to him missing out on the All-Star game after many consecutive years in it. From the starting lineup to the bench, Amar’e felt his time in New York was over. He asked the team to buy him out and he was waived. He would be picked up by the Dallas Mavericks.
Then during the summer of 2015 he would sign with his current team the Miami Heat where he is still finding his place on the team. Although the 33-year-old is in the twilight years of his career, we can enjoy the exciting play and sneakers he brought to us. And every now and then we see glimpses of old STAT come around, the one deserving of all the fresh kicks he’s received over the years.