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NBA Player Not as Jewish as Believed

Supposedly Jewish basketball player’s agent says story was blown out of proportion.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/2/2010, 1:44 AM / Last Update: 8/2/2010, 2:07 AM

NBA fans have been buzzing over the past several days following reports about NBA star Amar'e Stoudemire supposedly being Jewish.

Stoudemire, who has just been signed to the New York Knicks, arrived in Israel last Wednesday for a week long visit to learn about the country and explore its religions, after he supposedly discovered his Jewish roots. During the week Stoudemire was updating his fans via Twitter regarding his new found religion and trip. On Wednesday afternoon, he wrote: "Jerusalem is a beautiful city, I'm at a cafe eating a late lunch. I'm learning Hebrew by the min. Keep up !! Shalom."

However, despite the great excitement over the latest Jewish NBA star, his agent Happy Walters clarified during an interview on FanHouse.com that Stoudemire is “not Jewish, it's all getting blown a little bit out of proportion. His mother says there's some Jewish blood on her side, but Amar'e is just a total student of history and had been planning a trip to Israel for awhile. Is it possible [that he's Jewish]? Maybe. We're going to do some research, but I don't know where that will go."

Walters explained that Stoudemire’s mother, Carrie, has "mentioned that somewhere back in her lineage there might be some Jewish roots". However, he added, Stoudemire was not raised Jewish nor is his first name, Amar'e, derived from any Hebrew words as has been speculated. He added that “it's a stretch to call him Jewish at this point."

Regarding Stoudemire’s trip to Israel, Walters said that Stoudemire is planning to visit several Jewish and Christian holy sites while in Israel, including Jesus' birthplace in Bethlehem, the Kotel, and Massada.