While the NBA currently only has one active Jewish player, one of the most notable NBA stars associated with Israel over the last few decades has to be Amar’e Stoudemire. And he has some thoughts about antisemitism in the wake of the Kyrie Irving and Kanye West controversies.
The 15-year- NBA veteran received Israeli citizenship in 2019 and formally converted to Judaism in 2020. Stoudamire has said his interest in the religion stems from his research into Black Hebrew Israelites, a movement that believes African Americans are the genealogical descendants of the ancient Israelites. That’s also at the heart of both West’s comments and Irving’s controversy.
While spouting antisemitic remarks, West tweeted “I actually can’t be antisemitic because black people are actually Jew…” Meanwhile, when Irving was asked to explain why he continued to promote a movie with antisemitic tropes, “I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from.”
Stoudemire called on Irving to apologize last week on ESPN. West would also go on to call out Stoudamire directly, tweeting “They make us attack each other, even our brothers who know who we truly are.”
Stoudamire responded to West’s comments via his own Instagram video.
“Kanye tweeted something about me as if I’m turning my back on the community as if I’m advising Kyrie to apologize for being a Hebrew Israelite,” Stoudemire said in the video, which has since been removed. “I would never ask Kyrie to apologize for being an Israelite, are you kidding me? I dedicated about 20-plus years of my life on researching and learning who we are as a people.”
After Irving eventually apologized, Stoudamire said it was for “the little portion that’s inside the video that’s hurtful to the Jewish people,” adding that “as an Israelite, it’s our job to be a holy nation, so we understand that.”