Amare Stoudemire

From Academic Kids

Amare Stoudemire is a professional Basketball player from Lake Wales Florida. He is an American basketball player with the NBA's Phoenix Suns. Stoudemire attended six different high schools before graduating from Cypress Creek High School in Orlando, Florida. He had committed to play collegiately at the University of Memphis before declaring for the NBA Draft.

Stoudemire's first season was, at the time, the most successful ever by a high school rookie, averaging 13.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, with a high of 38 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 30, 2002, only his 31st game as a professional. Unlike his prep-to-pro predecessors Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, and Tracy McGrady, who were all forced to play supporting roles for several seasons before taking on leading roles for their teams, Stoudemire was able to make an immediate impact, showcasing an impressive array of talents with breathtaking plays, including one particularly vicious dunk on Los Angeles Clippers center Michael Olowokandi. In the playoffs, Stoudemire, a 6-10 245 lb. power forward, even hit a three-pointer to force overtime in a first-round game against the San Antonio Spurs. At the end of the season, Stoudemire beat out Houston Rockets center Yao Ming and Miami Heat forward Caron Butler to win the NBA's Rookie of the Year award.

The following season, Stoudemire improved statistically, but his team stumbled to a 29-53 record, mostly due to the midseason trade of star guard Stephon Marbury to the New York Knicks. During the summer of 2004, Stoudemire was selected to play for the United States national team in the 2004 Summer Olympics. However, head coach Larry Brown refused to give him significant playing time over established NBA stars, perhaps one of the reasons the 2004 team was the first so-called Dream Team that was unable to win a gold medal. During the 2004-05 season, Stoudemire teamed up point guard Steve Nash to help the Suns to a 62-20 record, best in the NBA. Averaging 26 points per game, that year he was selected to his first NBA All-Star Game, as a reserve forward, though some believe that he deserved the starting center position on the team over Yao. Despite the Suns 4-1 Western Conference Finals elimination to the San Antonio Spurs, Stoudemire performed brilliantly, averaging 37 points during the series, cementing his place as one of the best players in the league for years to come.

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