BY JILL SIERACKI / PHOTOGRAPHS BY STEPHAN WÜRTH
Less than a year ago, the Knicks were more likely to be in a punch line than a headline. But now that the team has signed free agent Amar’e Stoudemire away from the Phoenix Suns, it seems like New York just might be getting the last laugh.
Soft-spoken in person, Stoudemire is a force on the court. Since joining the Knicks, the 6-foot-10 center/ forward is boasting the highest scoring average of his career (including an impressive 41 points against his former team this past January). More importantly, the Knicks currently have their first winning record since their 2000–01 season. “There’s a new aura around the team to win,” says Stoudemire. “The guys we have are smart, they play basketball the right way and we’ve all just grown as a unit.”
Even after eight seasons, Stoudemire says he himself is still growing as a player, and playing in a town that reveres its champions could just be the thing to take the five-time NBA All-Star and Olympic bronze medal winner to the next level. “It’s the best to be out here in New York with high expectations,” says Stoudemire. “I think the most important factor is that I want to win; as a team we want to win. It’s not really because it’s New York; while you’re planning your career, you want to go down as a winner, so that’s what I’m trying to establish.”
New York certainly rolled out the proverbial red carpet when Stoudemire arrived in town last July. He hadn’t so much as tied his laces at Madison Square Garden, yet there he was, reading the Top 10 list on Late Night with David Letterman or sitting beside Anna Wintour at Fashion Week. (“We had a great conversation,” he says of theVogue editrix. “There’s totally great chemistry there.”)
It’s hard to imagine the tattoo-covered 2002 Rookie of the Year and the posh CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award Winner having much in common, but it seems sartorial style may be one of them. “My style is a mix,” says Stoudemire, who gravitates toward Tom Ford shirts, Waraire Boswell custom suits, Louis Vuitton shoes and Hermès accessories. “I look at different style groups—I dress urban, I dress in hip-hop attire, I can dress skater, I can go for a more Wall Street look. Versatility is a great factor to have.”
Versatility is a particularly good skill to have when it comes to navigating the local dating scene. “I think New York girls are a lot of fun,” says the single 28-year-old. “There’s so much to do in New York, so if you have an entertainment state of mind, your dating life is going to be pretty interesting.”
A record-winning, five-year, nearly $100-million contract, plus a killer wardrobe and a party pad in the city’s tony West Village should make Stoudemire like catnip for the local ladies. However, the pro athlete is harboring another unique skill that might give him a home-court advantage. “I used to f lip when I was a kid,” says Stoudemire, who did handstands as he rocked out to Lenny Kravitz, Coldplay, Kanye West and T.I. at the Gotham photo shoot. (His offer to do some handsprings was nixed for lack of space). “I’m versatile, I’m flexible and can move. I’m not your typical 6-foot-10.”
Courtesy of Gotham Magazine, please read the full article here.