The world of Jewish sports fans has been roiled for a week now by speculation around New York Knicks acquisition Amare Stoudemire’s trip to Israel and Twitter-born hints of Jewish roots. The Wall Street Journal delivers the clearest explanation of the situation that I’ve seen:
Mr. Stoudemire said it was his family’s dedication to biblical scripture and his attendance at Sunday school that planted the seeds of an affinity to Judaism that he says has grown over the past decade. While he doesn’t consider himself religiously Jewish, he said he feels spiritually and culturally Jewish. […]
Mr. Stoudemire’s interest in Judaism coincides with a stepped up relationship over the past three months with Idan Ravin, a private trainer who works with NBA players. Mr. Ravin says Mr. Stoudemire’s Hebrew comes from lessons in recent weeks with Mr. Ravin’s Israeli mother, a teacher in a Jewish school in Washington, D.C. Mr. Ravin, who accompanied Mr. Stoudemire on the trip, said Mr. Stoudemire is a quick read on foreign languages, and he speculates the skill is linked to his ability to decipher an opposing defense.
Not nearly good enough for the Law of Return, but should be good enough to serve as a marketing aid in the NYC market.