By Jerry Mittleman

Jerusalem’s annual Media Day at the two-year-old state-of-the-art Payis Arena in mid-September drew greater attention than usual thanks to the presence of Amar’e Stoudemire, the former NBA star who signed with the team over the summer.

The addition of Stoudemire, as well as the recent hiring of highly regarded Italian coach Simone Pianigiani is part of team owner Ori Allon’s aggressive campaign to overtake arch rival Maccabi Tel Aviv as the country’s top team and make Jerusalem not just the nation’s capital, but a basketball powerhouse.

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