Lying face down 22 hours a day for 10 straight days will change your perspective on life and will certainly test your mental fortitude.
This unenviable recovery task for Amar’e Stoudemire was just one example of his ability to overcome major injuries that would derail most people in his position. The remarkable achievement was not void of doubt for the Knicks power forward.
“Yeah, there were times when I doubted my health at one point, not knowing what it takes to really get back. I know those procedures were hard to overcome but my family helped me to stay focused and I was able to make it through,” a reflective Stoudemire explained.
The All-Star suffered the eye injury in a February 2009 game against the Clippers and was forced to undergo surgery to repair a partially detached retina in his right eye. Four years prior to the eye procedure, Stoudemire underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee. Doctors, NBA analysts, and fans wondered if the straight out of high school star could succeed in the midst of these adverse conditions.
“I knew I had a long career ahead of me,” Stoudemire stated. “The injuries happened at a young age, so I wanted to persevere through those and maintain perfect health. It wasn’t easy, it was a lot of hard work, a lot of discipline but I was able to persevere. “
Hard to believe the 29-year old is now an NBA veteran with nine years of service. After averaging 25.3 points per game last season, Stoudemire is reaching a pivotal moment in his career. Players of his caliber are measured by individual success and more importantly the jewelry.
“When I was first drafted out of high school I was strictly a raw-talented player,” Stoudemire remembered. “I was fresh out of high school, didn’t know what to expect. The speed of the game was a lot faster. I think now, going into my 10th season, I’m a little more relaxed, I understand the game a lot better. I’m a better shooter, better ball handler, better playmaker, and each year I try to improve.”
Stoudemire is truly an engaging individual with all-world talents and possesses a blend of confidence and understanding that his new cast will assist in his desire to capture a championship.
“These guys are great people, let alone players. We all get along very well with each other’s family. We hang out a lot – eat dinner. That camaraderie goes a long way on the basketball court also. It’s definitely a great friendship and also a great team chemistry,” Stoudemire said.
Perhaps the injury setbacks early in his career shaped the man Knicks teammates and fans see today. Stoudemire’s eyesight was severely affected two years ago but now, STAT has his sights clearly set on that elusive title he desperately wants to deliver to New York City.