Every NBA fan knows the league has its resident Superman in Dwight Howard, but who knew it also had a hero from Toy Story?
“I’m like the walking Buzz Lightyear in my house with my kids. We always have fun,” joked the Knicks’ captain and superstar, Amar’e Stoudemire.
Stoudemire, who was honored (along with five others, including Syracuse Men’s Basketball Coach Jim Boeheim) as a 2011 “Father of the Year” by the National Father’s Day Committee Thursday, was a favorite at the reception, displaying the same charisma that he used to charm all of New York City this past season.
With Father’s Day coming up this weekend, STAT relayed that with the NBA offseason in full swing, he tries to spend as much time with his three kids as possible, adding, “The NBA season is 82 games long, with 41 of those games on the road, so it’s tough being away from my kids for that period of time. I think the most important factor of being a father, though, is simply being able to connect. I love being able to spend time with and play with my kids. I’m very passionate and work hard at my career, so I enjoy going out and taking my kids to special places. Just being there is key.”
What else has he been up to this offseason? Stoudemire told Knicks Journal he’s been making the most of his time off, noting, “The offseason has been great. I’ve been doing a lot of traveling and have gotten a chance to really relax. It’s been phenomenal so far.”
Clearly still the talk of the town, while leading the Knicks into the playoffs for the first time since 2004, Stoudemire’s body took a toll. After carrying the team all season long, his sore back visibly limited his performance in a first-round series against the Celtics in which his team fell short.
Nevertheless, STAT seemed to know the perfect remedy for his ailments, asserting, “Being able to detox is definitely the key. I think it’s just really important to let your body rest and recuperate from the long year. “
At the same time, despite previous reports that he was still experiencing soreness in his back, Stoudemire seemed ready to hit the gym once again…when the time is right, of course.
Said the Knicks’ big man, “I was actually just hanging out with Landry Fields and Carmelo Anthony last night. I met up with those guys for dinner. They’re resting up right now, too, but we’re all planning on ramping things up once again sometime in July.”
There’s no doubt that the Knicks should build on their progress from last season and add some pieces, perhaps an additional combo guard and a big man, to shore up some visible holes. With Donnie Walsh’s full vision for success still coming to fruition (even following his resignation as President of Basketball Operations at the end of the month), it’s clear the team could use some touch-ups in preparation for next season.
At the same time, the Knicks leader did not seem at all too concerned with team needs, showing deep appreciation for the job Walsh has done, noting, “Well Donnie’s done a great job. I know he’ll definitely be staying on as a consultant this season too and will be continuing to help us out. I know we’ll be O.K.”
Taking time to reflect on the NBA Finals, Stoudemire also acknowledged that the Mavericks and the Heat have two different models as to how their teams are built.
Though the Knicks, with two bonafide superstars in STAT and Anthony, have a model more akin to the Heat than the NBA champion Mavericks, Stoudemire observed that the key to the Knicks' continuing to win and ultimately bringing home a championship some day was forming a unique model for success of their own, rather than trying to copy something another team has already tried to do.
Looking ahead, what are some major components that the New York Knicks will look to improve upon next season? Stoudemire ultimately believes in the group that is already in place, confidently asserting, “Good chemistry is going to win us a championship. Of course, defense wins championships. Just all of us guys staying together—that’ll do it. We really need to keep this group around.”