After signing a one-day contract with the New York Knicks, Amar'e Stoudemire announced his retirement from the NBA. It was a classy gesture Stoudemire was truly thankful for as the Knicks management basically let him ride off into the sunset as a member of the storied franchise.
As far as we're concerned, it was a well-deserved send-off.
For 14 seasons, Amar'e carried himself as an exemplary professional. Whether he was wearing a Phoenix Suns, Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, or Miami Heat jersey, we knew that the 2003 Rookie of the Year held nothing back whenever he stepped on the floor. His talent was off the charts too.
Before the injuries, it looked like he was on his way to becoming one of the all-time greats. Despite the limited minutes in his last playing seasons, Stoudemire still finished with impressive career numbers to the tune of 15,994 points (18.9 ppg), 6,632 rebounds (7.8 rpg), and 1,054 blocks (1.2 bpg).
But when we ponder on his legacy in the next few years, Amar'e will be best remembered for his explosiveness, which translates to his ferocity in dunking the basketball. That said, in honor of the man called "STAT (Standing Tall and Talented)," here is Stoudemire's Top 10 career highlights, in the form of his most thunderous slams.
10) Welcome to the NBA
Then a rookie, Amar'e wasted no time introducing himself to the league as a vicious dunker, at the expense of former No.1 Overall Pick Michael Olowakandi. The grossed-out look on former Suns point guard Stephon Marbury's face explains exactly how nasty the throwdown was.
9) All-Star special
The six-time All-Star big man made sure he left his imprint in the exhibition game lore with this sick slam in 2005. Amar'e would miss all but three games the following season due to micro-fracture knee surgery, but rewarded us with more of these in his return.
8) Dunker duels
Being a high-flyer himself, Blake Griffin has had his fair share of dunk victims. But in this play, the 2011 dunk champion learned who's boss, as the sheer force of Stoudemire took the former out of the picture. Also, Knicks fans were all smiles that STAT was now doing the nasty while donning their colors. Upon his arrival in 2010, NYK basketball would be revitalized; Amar'e ended up averaging 25 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks for the season, being named a member of the All-NBA 2nd Team and leading his team back into the playoffs.
7) Amar'e climbs Mt. Mutombo
Anytime someone gets to dunk over a legendary shot blocker like Dikembe Mutombo, the highlight has to be included in that player's all-time best plays.
6) The underrated jam
With his ferocious jams, Amare became one of the NBA's most fun-to-watch stars. In the 2005 All-Star Weekend, he displayed pure showmanship during the Slam Dunk Contest.
At the 3:03 mark, Amar'e threw down one of the most difficult yet most underrated dunks in the history of the competition. A 6'10" dude going between the legs for a two-handed reverse slam? Just insane.
5) The bread and butter
An Amar'e iso-play usually unfolds with him either facing up his defender to drain a mid-range J or a quick and overpowering move inside the paint to punch it through. Former Portland Trail Blazers center Joel Przybilla got a sickening dose of the latter way too much.
4) Steve and Stoudemire
A conversation about Amar'e cannot end without brushing up on his rapport with Phoenix pick-and-roll partner Steve Nash. Every time the former sets a perfect pick, expect mayhem to ensue.
Our personal favorite though comes at the 0:43 mark, wherein a Nash bounce pass ended up as a Stoudemire poster (Sorry, Dirk). What about his facials on Josh Smith, Brad Miller and Richard Jefferson?
3) Living up to his nickname
When he was a 100 percent healthy, Amar'e stood tall and was too talented for most of the NBA bigs. Among the elite big men, only those in the same league as him could hold him off. Case in point: this hopeless shot block attempt by Sean Williams on a rampaging Stoudemire.
2) Big game versus big names
Amar'e would've been one of the greatest PFs in NBA history had he been injury-free his entire career. Check out this visual proof; a embarrassing slamma jamma over two of the most terrifying players to ever roam the paint, Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O'Neal.
1) Flight Stoudemire
In peak form, Amar'e had averages of 26 points, nine rebounds, and tw blocks. But more than those whopping numbers, the hybrid power forward had freaky athleticism, which allowed him to make plays that defied both gravity and logic. Burly, 6’10” guys weren't supposed to sprint as fast and hop as high as he did, but hey, Stoudemire was such a specimen.
Our top Amar'e dunk embodied how special his physical gifts really were. He dunked on a hapless Anthony Tolliver with the basketball right through the rim.
Thank you for the memories, STAT, and enjoy your retirement. See you soon in the PBA?
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