Amare Stoudemire Interview
Phoenix Suns superstar Amare Stoudemire was drafted right out of high school (Cypress Creek, Orlando, Florida) in 2002. The Suns took him with pick #9, in the first round. In his first season, the 6-10, 245-pound Stoudemire averaged 13.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. In his second season, he raised those averages to 20.6 points and 9.0 rebounds. Now in his third season, Stoudemire has become a superstar, and the Suns are one of the league's best and most entertaining teams. InsideHoops.com met with Amare in Madison Square Garden a week and a half ago to talk about the squad and his ever-growing game.
InsideHoops.com: This season you guys have added Steve Nash, a repeat all-star, Quentin Richardson, and the team as a whole has risen fast.
Amare Stoudemire: It's going well, man. It's kind of what we needed. Made strong moves in the off-season to get those guys, and they're helping out a lot.
InsideHoops.com: And what was your reaction when you found out Steve Nash was officially with you?
Amare Stoudemire: Well, I was there. I was there in the actual meeting.
InsideHoops.com: Tell me about the meeting. Colangelo was there, a few of you...
Amare Stoudemire: Yeah, it was myself and the owners, and we told Steve that we were very interested in him. That we need him. Speaking on the players' behalf, that we need him, that he'll help us out a lot, and we can do big things if we had him on the team. He saw that and understood that, and joined the ride.
InsideHoops.com: You being there must have helped.
Amare Stoudemire: Yeah.
InsideHoops.com: You're only 21, but almost 22, right?
Amare Stoudemire: November 16. The big two-two (laughs).
InsideHoops.com: Feel like an old, tired veteran yet?
Amare Stoudemire: Ahhhhh (puts on old man's voice) It's my third year in the league, you know what I mean?
InsideHoops.com: Figure out what you going to do after you retire, since you're going to be wrapping this thing up in only about 20 years from now?
Amare Stoudemire: I still got only about 19 years to think about it.
InsideHoops.com: Your game has gone nuts this year. You're destroying everbody. Last year you mostly relied on dunks and simple moves. Now you're doing everything. You must have had a hell of a summer.
Amare Stoudemire: It's just my work ethic, man. I try to work out; when I do work out, I work out pretty hard. And I work on every aspect of the game. That's the way I want to look at it. I want to reach my full potential. And I think my full potential is unlimited. So, I want to get there. I want to get there, like, yesterday.
InsideHoops.com: Were you working with anyone in particular this summer?
Amare Stoudemire: I was working with pretty much everybody. Guys from the Suns, different coaches around the league, Olympic team coaches, Larry Brown and those guys, Gregg Popovich. I worked with a lot of different coaches, just to critique my game.
InsideHoops.com: What moves were you trying to add?
Amare Stoudemire: Pretty much everything. Especially my jump-shot. I think the main thing, the main focus I need to work on is defense. And I think the only way you can really get better at playing defense is playing the actual game. That's what I'm working on, now.
InsideHoops.com: Is it feeling much easier for you? Like last game you had something like 27 and 10...
Amare Stoudemire: 29 and 10...
InsideHoops.com: You did that a few times last year, but this year you're making it look easy.
Amare Stoudemire: Well, ever since I got back from my injury last year I was averaging 23. I think this year it's going to be a better year. I'm healthy, I feel good about the team. We're very energetic. We have an up-tempo type team, and that's going to help my game, and help everyone else's game as well.
InsideHoops.com: What happens if you extend your range even more?
Amare Stoudemire: If I knock down the 19-footer, nobody's going to ever be able to guard me. Ever.