NBA club accepts request of ex-star who has converted to Judaism and played for Israeli teams in recent years
26 January 2021, 11:36 pm JTA — Amar’e Stoudemire, the former NBA star-turned-Orthodox-convert to Judaism and Israeli team owner, is still settling into his new job back in the United States as an assistant player development coach for the Brooklyn Nets basketball club.
One fact that is helping him get comfortable: The team is not forcing him to work on Shabbat, which he observes.
Writing about Stoudemire and his new gig in December, Marc Stein of The New York Times reported that the team was still working through how to deal with the star’s request about the Jewish day of rest.
Stein wrote that Stoudemire was having a little trouble adjusting to being called a “coach” while not being officially retired as a player. Last year, Stoudemire played for Maccabi Tel Aviv and helped the club win a championship in Israel’s top league.
On Monday, Stein tweeted that the team has agreed to Stoudemire’s request.
“[T]he Nets are granting Shabbat off to Stoudemire every week — Friday sundown through Saturday sundown,” Stein wrote.
The development is symbolic of Stoudemire’s stricter adherence to Jewish law over time. He completed a formal Orthodox conversion in August.
Stoudemire, once an All-Star for the Phoenix Suns — where he played alongside current Nets head coach Steve Nash — detailed his Jewish journey in a late December talk with the UJA-Federation of New York.