Amar'e Stoudemire has retired from the NBA after 14 seasons, and he has done so as a New York Knick.
This Tuesday, Stoudemire signed a one-year non-guaranteed contract with the Knicks, before announcing his retirement in a media statement.
"I want to thank Mr. Dolan, Phil [Jackson] and Steve [Mills] for signing me so that I can officially retire as a New York Knick," Stoudemire said.
"I came to New York in 2010 to help revitalize this franchise, and we did just that. Carmelo [Anthony], Phil and Steve have continued this quest, and with this year's acquisitions, the team looks playoff-bound once again. Although my career has taken me to other places around the country, my heart had always remained in the Big Apple. Once a Knick, Always a Knick."
While Stoudemire is more favourably remembered as one-half of an absolute savage pick-and-roll duo with Steve Nash during his time in Phoenix, Knicks fans owe a collective debt to him also. To borrow a phrase, he made New York great again.
When Stoudemire first came to the Knicks (on a five-year, $100 mil deal), it was during a time where most free agents would steer in the opposite direction of NYC. And probably fair enough too; from the front office executives to the coaching department, even to the players themselves, were all synonymous with dysfunction.
In his first season as a Knick, Stoudemire played at an MVP level for 37 games, before his knee problems resurfaced. It was almost unfair that in the first time in a long time that the Knicks landed someone special, he gets injured, less than halfway through the season. But STAT would continue to have a positive effect on the Knicks. That we can still measure to this day, by raising the team's esteem enough to bring in Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups.
That year, the Knicks made the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
Even with a small highlight package, you can see the explosive force he brought and understood that times were going to change.
Admittedly the times are still changing in New York as 'Melo matures as a player and leader, Porzingis develops as another singular force and uncertain, but talented players Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah enter the off-season fray, but Knick fans will always remember Amar'e Stoudemire for being the catalyst in these positive steps in the right direction.