Amar’e clears the air on ‘the punch’

Image: NYMag.comIt was an embarrassing year for the New York Knicks. With such a talented roster playing in a big market, there were a lot of expectations. After a midseason resurgence led by Jeremy Lin, it looked like the team might live up to the hype. Then a quick five-game series with the Miami Heat ended their season in a flash.

The tension hit a breaking point after Game 2 of the series when Amar’e Stoudemire punched a fire extinguisher case and needed stitches to close the gash on his hand. He missed the next game and the Knicks eventually lost the series.

In a recent interview, Stoudemire defended his actions.

“It wasn’t a punch at all actually. It was more like a slap against the wall, but I caught the edge of the fire extinguisher. Some people think I balled my fist up and punched through a glass fire extinguisher, which is totally opposite of the truth. It was more like a smack against the wall, kind of a backhand or a reach back slap across the wall and caught the edge of the fire extinguisher. I think a lot of people confused my passion with frustration. I’m such a passionate player. I want to win so bad to where sometimes I want to win, so I bring my passion and it gets confused with frustration.”

I think when your passion becomes so great that you hit a wall after you lose, you can consider that frustration.

Stoudemire’s career has been riddled with moments like these where he’s let his emotions get the best of him. It’s truly his Achilles’ heel. If the Knicks are ever going to be a contending team, he’s going to have to get his emotions in check and learn that things aren’t all about him. He worked out with Hakeem Olajuwon this summer which could help him develop some of the skills he needs to be a solid post player, but if he can’t get his attitude under control, he’ll never amount to the player he’s capable of being.