He wears No. 1 for the New York Knicks and they are going to need him to be that number one guy every night if they are going to make the playoffs this season.
When Amar’e Stoudemire signed his 99.7 million dollar contract with the New York Knicks, he proclaimed shortly after that “The Knicks are back!”
The sentiment was echoed throughout NYC, a city that has not sniffed the post season in six years. Maybe it was a little premature, but you have to like the guys’ enthusiasm.
From that day, Stoudemire has done and said everything right. He has been the vocal leader that the Knicks have lacked since the days of Latrell Sprewell.
He showed up early for training camp, and immediately set a tone for his teammates. His diligent work ethics earned him the title of co-captain along with new Knicks point guard, Raymond Felton.
Amare definitely has something to prove.
Not just to the Knicks organization that signed him to the 5 year contract worth almost 100 million dollars, when no other team would.
Not just to the fans that are hungry for their home town team to finally make the playoffs.
But to him self and all the doubters who believe that he’s not capable of leading a team to the playoffs. That he is not capable of playing defense for 40 minutes.
He has to prove that he can be the inside dominant presence that the Knicks have so desperately lacked.
And that he can accomplish that without Steve Nash feeding him the ball.
Stoudemire surely did not let the fans of NY down in his first preseason game as a Knick. From the start of the game, Amar’e showed his strength and dominance. Fifteen seconds into the game, he delivered a thunderous dunk.
It was a dunk heard back at the Garden.
Stoudemire went on to score 32 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in only 28 minutes of play. He scored in the paint, from the free throw line, and even hit a few jumpers. Yes it was only a preseason game, and didn’t matter.
But it mattered to Amar’e.
“I really wanted to dominate on both ends of the court.” Stoudemire told reporters.
Mike D’Antoni believes that he can.
“This young team is going to have to climb up his back.”
So Amar’e is going to have to prove that he is ready to lead this young Knicks team and delivers to the city of New York a playoff caliber team.
“Anything less than the playoffs would not be success.” said Stoudemire.
That’s why he showed up to training camp a month early. That’s why has been working hard on his defense.
Amar’e is out to prove that he can make basketball in New York meaningful again.
He is out to prove that he can lead.