Amar’e allegedly refused to play in the Knicks game against the Chicago Bulls on Christmas Day because he “staunchly oppose[d] being forced to glorify a holiday that contradicts his faith. Besides, the game was right after Shabbat lunch and the Cholent was still gonna be kicking around in my tummy.” Knicks players claim that this is merely the last in a long series of frustrating declarations Amar’e has made since returning from the Holy Land.
Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky of Yeshiva University in New York told reporters he believes Amar’e is going through a very common maturation phase in modern Jewish development known as “Flipping Out”. “Flipping out,” Rabbi Sobolofsky explained, “is when a Jewish American teenager goes to Yeshiva or Seminary in Israel for the year and comes back ultra-observant and extremely judgmental. It seems to me that Mr. Stoudemire certainly has flipped out on his trip to Israel and this can often lead to messy arguments and hurt feelings. Tensions tend to rise especially with people from the flipee’s past.”
It was reported that Amar’e was incensed before a pre-season game after being informed he would not be allowed to play in his warm-up pants. The referees steadfastly denied Stoudemire despite his passionate appeals that his shorts were “soooo not tznius (modest)”. This was hardly the only time Amar’e has befuddled his teammates and coaches with his new vocabulary. There were reports that Knicks practice absolutely froze last week after Stoudemire called for the ball in Yiddish. Knick’s guard Raymond Felton told reporters “I just let the ball fall right then and there and we all stared at him for a good two minutes. By the time one of us had the courage to respond “say what?” Amar’e was already sitting on the bench with his head buried in that Talmud thing, complaining about bitul zman (Ed: halachik prohibition against wasting time that could be spent learning Torah) or something like that. And then there was the confusion with Gallinari”.
Danilo Gallinari is the Knicks second year guard from Italy who used to look up to Stoudemire, a veteran, for advice on all things basketball. “I asked Amar’e what he thinks I should use to ice my sore shoulder after practice,” Gallinari somberly told reporters, “He told me “come on! Use you Kup”. I did not know Kup meant brain in Yiddish. I am still paying for that miscommunication.”
Knicks head coach Mike De’Antoni has similarly struggled with Stoudemire’s new attitude, finding himself constantly begging his superstar to score more points, even if his total won’t come out in a multiple of 18.
Amar’e has not only made it uncomfortable for his teammates on the court, but in the locker room as well. Knicks backup center Ronnie Turiaf expressed his concerns over post-game showering with Amar’e. “I'm not saying we are gonna have an Arenas episode (Ed: former Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas was suspended for a season after bringing guns into the locker room) but I see the condescending looks he shoots at us when we are toweling off. A surprise circumcision attack would not be out of the question and we are all on edge (no pun intended).”
The Knicks have tried to use other, more enlightened, Jewish NBA players to appeal to Stoudemire to tone down the disruptive attitude but to no avail. Omri Casspi, the first Israeli to ever play in the NBA, was shot down by Amar’e because, “he thought he saw me at the bottom of Ben Yehdah Street in Jerusalem running around drunk with girls. He wouldn’t even look me in the eye.” Jordan Farmer was even less successful. “Amar’e told me that my appearance on the Chabad Telethon hardly made me a real Jew. And I don’t know what the heck is a shkutz is but I know I should be insulted.”
When asked if he was worried about being labeled the most hated Jew in professional sports he casually responded, “Not as long as Donald Sterling still owns the Clippers.” He then stared a hole through a reporter at the Kraft Food Services table who was making himself a ham sandwich, got up, and left the podium grumbling to himself.