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Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 at 11:59 am  |  27 responses

SLAM 147: On Sale Now!

Amar’e Stoudemire will bring the Knicks to the promised land.

by Adam Figman | @afigman

I first ran into Amar’e Stoudemire last September, when we spoke in a trailer on the set of an NBA on ESPN commercial. (You know, the one where STAT and Jeff Van Gundy switch places in the RV, and JVG has to awkwardly reposition the driver’s seat.) The Q+A was quick, but it wasn’t his answers that spoke the loudest, strange, or cliché, as it sounds. It was his demeanor. Sure, Amar’e was (and still is) in a position that many other NBAers are in—he has, in no particular order: millions of dollars stashed in the bank; millions of fans located all around the world; tons of global marketing power; an interesting backstory; and a heap of people curious about and privy to his every move, be it via Twitter, gossip sites, newspapers, magazines, and so forth.

But, when we first met in September—and still to this day—Amar’e Stoudemire had something else. He had an entire city on his back. (Yeah, now there’s some help. More on that in a bit.) The arrival of July 1, 2010, meant the Knickerbockers finally had a blank slate, and New Knicks Phase One was launched a week or so later, with Stoudemire’s signing. When he put on that forward-facing fitted and proclaimed “The Knicks are back!” in front of Madison Square Garden last July, it meant something special to every Knicks fan who spent the past decade forced to witness and/or read about the outrageous contracts, absurd general managers/team presidents, out of shape players, sexual assault cases, truck parties and much, much more. It meant that the grass on the other side actually was greener. After two years of clearing house and rebuilding, the Knicks could finally afford a superstar. And here he was on this autumn afternoon, seated comfortably on a soft couch in a high-tech trailer, playing Madden. Just chillin’, as if an entire fan base wasn’t impatiently waiting for him to single-handedly turn the team’s status around. Amar'e Stoudemire

It was that poise—evident in the way he answered questions, responded to criticism, and spoke about his past—that made it clear Amar’e’s time in New York would work out just fine. Let’s be real: A lot of other guys couldn’t handle it. They went elsewhere. STAT didn’t, and it wasn’t a coincidence. When we spoke in September, he brushed off talks of “pressure” like some light sweat off his goggles, and he did so once again when we caught up at the MSG Training Center in January for this cover story. He’s cool with the attention. The lights, the cameras, the action—all that. He figured he could use it as a jumping off point to begin the next stage of his career—his prime—and he was correct. He’d probably credit it all to his “immortal swag,” and confusing as that may be, it does sound about right.

So here we are. Almost eight months since he inked the deal, and nobody’s been disappointed. STAT’s scoring numbers are as high as they’ve ever been, he was (rightfully) voted to start in the All-Star Game, and he reconstructed the Knicks into a (to-be) Playoff contender. And he’s doing plenty off the court, too: writing an autobiography, hosting camps for the youth, guesting on radio and late-night shows, and gracing the pages of fashion and lifestyle magazines—and now, this one. (The last time a Knick was on SLAM’s cover? SLAM #36, almost 12 years ago!) The longer you speak with Amar’e—which I did, about all of this stuff, after our shoot—the more you realize that as much as Stoudemire has done for the city and people of New York, the city and people of New York have done equally for him.

And yeah, he’s got a new friend in town, and now the bring-the-’Bockers-back responsibilities are shared. It’d be safe to assume SLAM will give Mr. Anthony some print shine in due time. New Knicks Phase Two is underway, and like you, we’re eagerly anticipating watching this thing play out. But in the meantime, we’re showing some love to the dude who rode his confidence to the Big Apple, and who will still be counted on to bring the Knicks to the—well, peep the coverline!

“[Stoudemire] understands the big moment, and the stage,” head coach Mike D’Antoni said after a STAT-led Knicks victory in late January. “That’s why he came to New York—he has that quality that he’s not backing down for anything.”

(For more on this issue, check out Tzvi Twersky’s post, which includes a rundown of the other features in the mag and some background on the alternate cover story, starring rookie sensation Blake Griffin.)

SLAM 147

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Amar’e looks like he smelled something bad at the photo shoot.

  • http://dodgers.com Joey E.

    12 years since the last Knick?! stand up New York. go get this. love the cover

  • http://Myspace Shanoooooo

    Nice

  • http://slamonline.com Adam Fleischer

    First Knicks cover since Spree? Wow. And he wasn’t even rocking the jersey. Dope. I know my cubical neighbor is enthused.

  • http://slamonline.com Acclaimed

    Fu*k yo mean mug

  • http://youtube/user/Uncle05Sam Earl

    @Eboy I think he smelled the Heat getting burned by the Knicks. :)

  • http://babymyria@gmail.com Vale

    So sad Zinio reader is always offline lately…I cannot even manage to read the previous numbers of The Mag!Big cover again anyway!;)

  • logues

    not sure bout amares face but both covers are sick, bout time blake got one and amare def deserved it too

  • http://nicekicks.com meloman2.0

    can i be expecting a Melo one next month?

  • logues

    ^ya i was a bit disappointed to not see melo with amare, but i spose it was too late by the time he got traded. but the more i look at this cover, the better it looks. this is a really great cover

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    First Knick since Tony G was running the show!

  • idrees

    i subscribed exactly jan. 11 and haven’t got ish 145 and 146 still. so now i subscribed online, finding out i have to pay more. =.=

  • ClydeSays

    By “Promised Land” did you mean Playoffs or Finals? Because if it was “Finals” I’m not seeing that unless they can somehow grab a coach and some players who ‘have been taught’ defense and actually DO it.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Ridiculously cool. Also, the coolest shades ever worn on the basketball court. Maybe.

  • http://bedotwater.bandcamp.com BE.water

    This is a Bad ass cover, And Bo Outlaw had those Glasses first.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Yes, but cooler than Amare’s?!

  • bdub

    What Teddy? No Toney Douglas cover?

  • Jer dawg

    Yes! Big market teams on dual covers. Los Angeles and New York. Amare is relentless offensively. 3 rebounds vs. Magic really sucks, but credit Amare for bringing it every night and making NY basketball relevant once again. Great covers, Slam. This will be a first for me buying same magazine with different covers.

  • Bravo

    man this looks sick gotta grab this ish

  • john smith

    can we get a wallpaper of amare from this issue? you guys promised me a westbrook wallpaper during the summer but never added it to the site SMH

  • please

    WALLPAPER PLEASE

  • $tev3

    Slam
    I swear to god if you guys send me the Blake cover instead of Amare when I live in New York I will cancel my subsciption to you
    Do THe RiGHT THiNG

  • http://rdearborn@yahoo.com rhonda

    I’ve been to two stores Borders and B&N and they DONT have this issue!!!! :(

  • http://Boom Aaron Laucke

    Sweet cover

  • http://www.eric32woodyard.wordpress.com Eric Woodyard

    This cover is dope! Amare is the man

  • http://crohoops.com Tomislav

    You have two old-school features in this issue? Several days ago you posted article about 1980 USA team online, and Hakeem is mentioned on the cover. Or is it Hakeem’s poster?

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