Amar'e Stoudemire announced his retirement from the NBA on Tuesday following a 14-year run that included six All-Star selections.
The New York Knicks' public relations department posted Stoudemire's official announcement on Twitter after the 33-year-old decided to retire as a member of the team he called home from 2010-2015:
Amar’e Stoudemire announced his retirement as a player in the National Basketball Association today. #OAKAAK
3:55 AM - 27 Jul 2016
"My heart had always remained in the Big Apple," Stoudemire said, per the team's official Twitter account.
The Suns released a statement on the veteran's announcement:
The Phoenix Suns family congratulates [Amar’e] Stoudemire on a remarkable NBA career. As the 2003 NBA Rookie of the Year and a five-time All-Star during his time in Phoenix, Amar’e’s eight seasons with our franchise provided some of the most exciting Suns basketball this city has ever seen. Off the court, Amar’e represented himself with integrity and class every step of the way, leaving an indelible impression on countless kids in our community. We’re proud to have called Amar’e one of our own and wish him nothing but the best in his retirement. Congrats, STAT!
ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported Stoudemire "has lucrative interest from China, sources say, or could play in Israel for the team (Hapoel Jerusalem) he co-owns," but added the big man "plans to take some time before deciding if he intends to play pro basketball abroad in the coming season or stay put."
Stoudemire most recently suited up for the Miami Heat after signing a one-year deal with the South Beach ballers last July, but he was deployed sparingly during a season that saw him appear in just 52 games.
However, the lack of explosiveness that defined Stoudemire throughout the final years of his career served as a stark juxtaposition to his ascent to superstardom and correspondingly dominant prime.
Selected ninth overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2002 NBA draft, Stoudemire rocked rims and crashed the glass to the tune of 13.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game en route to earning 2002-03 Rookie of the Year honors.
He proceeded to average better than 20 points per game each of the next two seasons, but microfracture knee surgery limited him to just three late-season appearances during the 2005-06 campaign.
But unlike other high-profile players who underwent the procedure, Stoudemire bounced back in a big way, as Synergy Sports noted on Twitter:
Synergy Sports Tech @SynergySST
Amare Stoudemire scored 1.19 points per possession over 21.1 possessions per game in 07-08. Stephen Curry scored 1.18 over 25.5 last season.
4:22 AM - 27 Jul 2016
His scoring average was north of 20 points per game during each of the next four seasons, and he was an integral component of a Suns team that lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 Western Conference Finals.
But after watching the Suns fall one series short of NBA Finals qualification for the third time in the span of six years, Stoudemire bolted for the Big Apple in free agency.
The start of Stoudemire's first year in New York was positively dominant, too. Before the 2011 All-Star break, the springy Stoudemire looked like a true MVP candidate as he averaged 26.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists while shooting 50.7 percent from the field.
Stoudemire's numbers took a turn for the worse from that point forward as his knees began to fail him, and he never appeared in more than 65 games in each of the next three seasons before the Knicks waived him midway through the 2014-15 campaign.
Stoudemire then bounced around between the Dallas Mavericks and the Heat, but he was never more than a rotational big off the bench.
"I'm actually very proud of my career," Stoudemire said July 1, per the Undefeated's Marc J. Spears. "In my career, I've had some ups and downs. But I'm thankful that what I put into this game helped me achieve what I was able to accomplish. Hopefully, that gives me a bid into the Hall of Fame. That was my goal as a teenager, was to become a Hall of Famer. That's what I'm still striving for."
If historical trends are any indication, Stoudemire could have a good shot at enshrinement in Springfield, Massachusetts.
According to Basketball-Reference.com's Hall of Fame probability calculator, Stoudemire ranked 19th among active players with a rating of 73 percent before the announcement. That number placed him just behind James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
Once a force to be reckoned with who could slice and dice opponents as a rim runner, post-up maven or silky pick-and-pop shooter, Stoudemire should be revered as one of the most athletically gifted and dominant bigs of his generation.