The Israel Association of Baseball invited former NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire’s son, who was barred from playing Israeli basketball, to switch to baseball.
Peter Kurz made the invitation Monday in an open letter to Stoudemire and his wife, Alexis Stoudemire, saying he was “shocked” by how their son had been treated and that the association he presides over “is open to all.” The Stoudemires’ 12-year-old son, Deuce, has not been allowed to play games with his Hapoel Jerusalem’s youth team because he is not an Israeli citizen.
“I read about the treatment your son has been receiving from the Israeli Basketball Association and I am shocked. I would like to offer you an alternative and that is to send him to play baseball in Israel,” Kurz wrote in the letter, published on the association’s website. “Just as the great Michael Jordan made a switch from basketball to baseball, so do we believe that your son can too, and even more successfully. Israel baseball welcomes him with open arms. Please consider this invitation.”
Michael Jordan, widely considered among the greatest NBA players off all time, famously left basketball in 1993 for a short and largely unsuccessful dalliance with professional baseball.
Amar’e Stoudmir, who claims “Hebrew roots,” electrified the country when he joined the Hapoel Jerusalem professional men’s team in August, ending a 14-season NBA career during which he was named an All-Star six times. He and Alexis Stoudemire live in Jerusalem with their four children.
Hapoel Jerusalem and Alexis and Amar’e Stoudemire did not respond to interview requests.
Last week, Stoudemire posted a photo of Deuce on Instagram along with a message complaining that the Israel Basketball Association, which oversees youth leagues in the country, was preventing her son from playing with his team.
“The last few months have been practices, jersey handouts (which was delayed) and a few games (which he bravely sat on the bench). This is appalling as a mother whom supports extracurricular activities and played youth sports,” Alexis Stoudemire wrote. “It saddens me as a fan that [Deuce] might be forced to withdrawal not to mention other non-Israeli citizens whose families come to this beautiful country to live temporarily because of jobs and or religious reasons the case my be.”