By Ben Detrick
Amar’e Stoudemire was inspecting art at Christie’s in Rockefeller Center on a sweltering afternoon in June. He was drawn to a tall piece by David Hammons, an influential artist whose work is in the permanent collection at the Whitney Museum of American Art. It was a smoky cloud scape created by bouncing a basketball covered in graphite and dirt on paper.
Mr. Stoudemire, who wore a drapey black T-shirt, ripped black jeans and a gray bandanna around his head, offered commentary as a member of his entourage recorded video on her phone. “Art can be expressed in many different ways,” he said. “The great thing about it is that it relates to basketball.”
A woman from Christie’s lobbed an assist: “It’s called ‘Throwing Up a Brick.’ I’m not sure that’s a good thing in your world.”
But Mr. Stoudemire’s world is changing. After 14 seasons as a professional basketball player, including four and a half seasons with the New York Knicks and six All-Star Game appearances, he recently announced his retirement from the N.B.A. He now plays in Israel for Hapoel Jerusalem, a team in which he had an ownership stake.
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