By Pulse News Agency International

The big man sat in a chair after practice, ice packs taped to his knees, and spoke about an upcoming basketball season that promises to be far different from the many others he has known.

Amar’e Stoudemire was in Jerusalem, half a world away from the bright lights of New York City, where a Times Square billboard once heralded the former NBA star’s arrival.

He was happy to be here, he stressed, having chosen to play where he feels he has a spiritual connection after a career — and a life — filled with struggle.

“I have no regrets,” the towering 33-year-old American said the day before the first league game of the season with his new team, Hapoel Jerusalem.

Stoudemire, who followed a winding path from poverty to professional basketball fame in the United States, has embarked on a new journey.

After an NBA career that began with great promise was cut short by injuries, Stoudemire has decided to make Jerusalem his home, becoming the most famous name to ever join the Israeli league.

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