New York Knicks big man Amar’e Stoudemire is feeling quite optimistic heading into his 12th season in the NBA.

And maybe it’s the red wine talking, but Stoudemire says he’s regained that youthful feeling all over again.

Stoudemire says his biggest challenge going forward, will be gaining a reputation as a defensive player.

Per the NY Post:

“My joy is there. My love of the game is there,” said Stoudemire, 32 next month. “I feel like I’m 19 again as far as how much I love to play the game of basketball. I feel youthful. To have that type of feeling again as I had my rookie year, to want to play and just want to be out there and get better as a player is pretty encouraging.”

 

Stoudemire had 14 points (5-of-7 shooting) and six rebounds in 23:34. And while Stoudemire always has been suspect defensively, everybody was at fault this time. […] “It went well, but our main focus right now has to be locking down on defense,” Stoudemire said, seconding Anthony’s assertion that they can be a double-barrel post assault, that when one doesn’t have it going the Knicks can look to the other. .. Yeah, we can tag-team them to death, like the old Bushwhackers,” Stoudemire said, using his best wrestling reference.

 

“Injuries sometimes take that joy away. You’re not able to play, you’re not able to become that leader that you know you are, you can’t speak on things that you see on the basketball court because you’re not out there within the battlefield with the guys,” Stoudemire said.