If you’re like me, there was one thing that was just totally off about Amar’e Stoudemire’s retirement earlier this week, and that was his decision to retire as a New York Knick instead of a Phoenix Sun. Sure, Stoudemire had some good years in New York, but the overwhelming majority of basketball fans will remember him more for his days in Phoenix, where he helped lead them deep into the playoffs on multiple occasions and was part of the explosive Seven Seconds or Less offense alongside Steve Nash.
As it turns out, there may have been a legitimate reason why Stoudemire opted not to retire as a member of the Suns, and it had to do with his disappointment with the organization the last few offseasons.
As Stoudemire told the Arizona Republic, he wanted to go back to Phoenix the last two years, but the team didn’t want him.
“The last two years, we made phone calls to Phoenix but I wasn’t getting any positive response,” Stoudemire told azcentral sports on Thursday. “That would’ve been the perfect way to go out. I didn’t want to beg Phoenix. My heart was in two places – Phoenix and New York. I just went where I was wanted.”
Stoudemire played the last couple of seasons with the Knicks, Mavs, and finally the Heat before deciding to call it a career. He said with the Suns bringing back a few of his former teammates this offseason, retiring in Phoenix would have been ideal, but it just wasn’t a mutual feeling.
“They brought back Jared and Leandro, my boys,” Stoudemire said. “That would’ve been a heck of a way to finish. I wasn’t just going to keep knocking on someone’s door that wasn’t going to answer. I love my fans in Phoenix. Most of my high times and highlights were in Phoenix. I put forth the effort to finish my career in Phoenix, but it wasn’t well-received.”
It’s a shame that Stoudemire and the Suns couldn’t work things out so that he could retire with the team he most identifies with. However, there’s a big difference between letting a former legend sign a one-day contract and bringing him back in the fold for a full season like Stoudemire was asking. Regardless of what uniform he retired in, though, for most fans, Amar’e Stoudemire will always be a Sun.
(Via Arizona Chronicle)