By Degen Pener

The NBA great Amar’e Stoudemire—a six-time all-star and the first player ever signed out of high school to be named Rookie of the Year—has a new mission since retiring from the league earlier this year. An art expert whose Miami home is filled with dozens of contemporary works, Stoudemire has set out to encourage more of his fellow athletes to discover the joys of collecting. Acting as an art adviser, he brings together athletes who need guidance in the notoriously hard-to-navigate industry and emerging artists who are seeking patrons for their pieces. Among the athletes he has advised are Miami Heat player Justise Winslow and Memphis Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons, who recently acquired a painting by Oklahoma artist Robert Peterson after spotting one of his works on Stoudemire’s Instagram feed. The venture is part of Stoudemire’s Melech Collection (melech means “king” in Hebrew), a rubric that the married father of four uses to encompass all of his art-related pursuits, from his own collecting to his charitable In the Paint series, which organizes art-and-basketball events for children in underserved areas. In August, Stoudemire returned to basketball himself, joining the Israeli team Hapoel Jerusalem.

How do you introduce your clients to art and collecting? 

For a little while now, I’ve been really reaching out to entertainers and athletes about how to get involved in art. Some people want to collect, but they are not sure of the value of works. I play the liaison role of helping them understand what they are buying. Will it appreciate in value or will it depreciate? Is it a smart buy or not? Is this guy a good artist or not? I give them kind of a breakdown study on the actual piece.

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