Saturday , May , 27 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Amaré Stoudemire Changes Number, Talks Big

With the whispers of a return from STAT gently rising to a crescendo yesterday, Phoenix coach Mike D’Antoni offered an unequivocal shut the f*ck up when questioned on the matter. Although certain alleged “insiders” had claimed otherwise, it was made clear today that Amaré Stoudemire won’t play this offseason.

“No,” Suns coach Mike D’Antoni said firmly.

“Medically, he probably could give it a try,” D’Antoni continued, “but he’s not ready. We put it on the shelf that day.”

“That day” refers to March 28, when Stoudemire’s comeback from October microfracture surgery on his left knee was aborted after three games and followed shortly thereafter by an arthroscopic surgery to ease a fluid buildup in the other knee.

Amaré Stoudemire Changes Number, Talks Big

Although there was no apparent change on the comeback front from Stoudemire, he has been talking about the time when he’ll be running the hardwood once again. Typically, he isn’t shy about setting the bar high, as the selected quotes below demonstrate.
"Next year, I’m coming back in MVP form."

"When I see what this team has done, with me back I see championships – plural."

"We’re talking NBA champions numerous times."

Could you aim any higher than that? According to assistant coach Phil Weber, Amaré can.
"Everyone wants to feel needed … and Amare really does feel like he’s going to be the best ever.”

Alright then. Also coming from the Stoudemire camp is news that, like Kobe Bryant, he’ll be rocking different digits on his chest and back next year. Having played as thirty-two for the first four years of his career, he’s apparently switching to number one for the next phase of his life in the league. No particular reason has been given for the choice as yet, but it doesn’t take a genius to guess where he’s going with it. Still, I wish the kid well, mainly because I feel as if he owns me and my country after what he did to Michael Olowokandi. England still hasn’t forgiven ‘Kandi for that one.