Stoudemire, in Israel to coach the Canadian basketball team at the Maccabiah Games, met with Peres to discuss his charity efforts.
During the meeting, Peres invited the 6’11” New York Knicks power forward, who says he has Hebrew roots, to play for the Israeli national basketball team. No word yet on whether Stoudemire might take him up on the offer.
In a 2010 interview, Stoudemire, 30, said, “I have been aware since my youth that I am a Hebrew through my mother, and that is something that has played a subtle but important role in my development.” He visited Israel that year, saying he intended “to get a better understanding of [his] heritage.” Traveling with Stoudemire was IdanRavin, who works as a private coach for many NBA players, including LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony.
Ravin, raised by an Israeli mother and a Russian father in Washington D.C., shares Stoudemire’s Jewish heritage. During the trip, Ravin linked Stoudemire’s language skills to his ability to decipher defensive schemes on the court. Ravin also worked with Stoudemire on a daily basis during the trip.
Stoudemire was named an assistant coach of the Canadian basketball team for the 2013 Maccabiah Games, giving him an opportunity to return to Israel.
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