Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem made a major splash Monday by signing veteran center Amar'e Stoudemire, a six-time NBA all-star who also owns a stake in the club, to a two-year contract. Stoudemire (2.08 meters, 33 years old) has spent his entire pro career of 14 seasons until now in the NBA, where he was voted rookie of the year in the 2002-03 season. He played his first eight years with Phoenix before switching to New York for the 2010-11 season, his last as an all-star. After five seasons in New York he played the last two with Dallas and Miami, respectively. Stoudemire had NBA career averages of 18.8 points and 7.5 rebounds. He was a member of the all-NBA first team in 2007 and the second team in 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2011. He won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympic Games with the U.S. national team. In 2013, Stoudemire joined the new ownership group that took over Hapoel Jerusalem.
"I’m sure everyone has been documenting my journey with the Holy Land over the past six, maybe seven years, and my interest in playing in Israel. And at this moment, that dream has come true," Stoudemire said at a press conference at Madison Square Garden in New York. "I am now able to play for Hapoel Jerusalem, a team that I look forward to playing with. A team that is looking forward to my arrival. So it’s official that I will be playing for Hapoel Jerusalem. I will be in Jerusalem for, it’s a two-year-contract. And I am excited about the next journey. "
Hapoel Jerusalem president Ori Alon presented Stoudemire with his No. 1 Hapoel jersey and said: "Jerusalem is a very special city. And Amar’e is a very special person, other than the fact that he’s a great basketball player. So I’m very excited about this and the whole city of Jerusalem is celebrating right now. It’s going to be an amazing two years with Amar’e."