If you were a chef, and after a long and hard day with botched orders, you uncontrollably stabbed all of tomorrow’s meats and vegetables out of frustration, you’d probably be fired right? Or at least lose pay because you have very little chance at serving costumers tomorrow, and even if you do it’ll be a limited and unsatisfying menu. Well Amar’e Stoudemire couldn’t have depleted the Knicks’ menu any more than he did with his childish punch of a glass case outside a fire hydrant. It wasn’t malicious, in fact it’s nice to know that there are Knicks’ players who care enough about this series to do something irrational out of anger. However, irrational is just what Amar’e was. The 100-million-dollar-man has hardly earned his exorbitant salary, and was already on thin ice shaking with uninsurable knees. He’s constantly on and off the court, never fully assembling a rhythm in New York this season.
Last year Stoudemire put up some of his career best numbers, averaging a little more than 25 points and eight rebounds. This year however, his point average has dropped almost eight points. He’s become the fourth most impactful player on a team where he briefly reigned as king. The bright lights of New York shined on Amar’e when he first signed there, and he loved every minute of it. He traced his microscopic roots in Israel, winning the affection of every Jewish Upper East Sider. Then Carmelo Anthony showed up; the lights dimmed and Amar’e fell into a number two role. Then, the Knicks signed Tyson Chandler, whose defensive player of the year award signifies a new type of Knicks defense that hasn’t been visible in a while. And most recently came Jeremy Lin, the world went crazy and the rest is history.
There has to be some frustration in Amar’e, who went from the hope of New York to the guy who didn’t work with Chandler on the floor. I truly have no idea if Amar’e was just frustrated at losing to the Heat, or if there were more deep-seeded issues boiling inside him. Whatever the reason is, there’s no excuse for what he did. He’s making far more money than he should be, and at the most important point of his team’s season he removed himself from the game because of primal anger. It’s nobody’s fault that Stoudemire got outplayed into a supporting role on the biggest stage in basketball, but it is his fault that he didn’t even give himself a chance to help his team win a series that they’re not supposed to.
It’s a shame basketball players can’t be “fired” or can’t even be demoted, because for a man paid $100 million to play a game, Amar’e Stoudemire let down a whole lot of people. Maybe they should dock him $1 million for each cornrow. Or maybe they can make him wear his goggles in public. Whatever the punishment would be, it’d be justified. I understand that Amar’e Stoudemire didn’t mean to injure himself, but a grown man he is supposed to decide whether or not punching a hard surface is worth removing yourself from a playoff series.