What a thrill it was to call and experience the most recent masterpiece by Amar’e. His 49 point, 11 rebound, 6 assist, 5 steal “instant classic” against the Pacers on Wednesday will be talked about for years to come.
The crescendo came when Stoudemire “YouTubed” Jeff Foster and then laughed off the weak attempt by Travis Diener to bait him into a confrontation.
Amar’e's maturity and growth was palpable as he avoided a skirmish and sure-fire suspension. The only blemish was the Indy stats crew fumbling the stats and turning what everyone thought was STAT’s career high 51 point game and downsizing it to 49 after the final buzzer. But there was no downplaying the significance of this breathtaking performance.
We have witnessed some incredible offensive explosions in the past few seasons–Kobe’s remarkable 81 point outburst and then Tony Parker’s driving to 55 on STAT’s night–but Stoudemire’s extravaganza in Indianapolis was total domination in every sense of the game: scoring, rebounding, dishing and badgering on defense. Only LeBron James in today’s game can match the power, speed, playmaking and perimeter skills that Amar’e flashed. We have to constantly remind ourselves that this supernatural athlete performs these feats while standing 6-10 and weighing nearly 250 pounds. We have also begun to erase from our memory banks the fact he underwent the microfracture surgery which used to be the kiss of death for an NBA player. But Amare has come back bigger, better and more brazen.
We have been entertained on this entire trip by Stoudemire’s desire to coin a new nickname. He feels STAT has run its course and craves a new, flashier moniker. On the flight to New Jersey, he approached Eddie Johnson and I to kick around some contenders: The Original, The Punisher, Air Force One, and The Iron Man were early entries. Then EJ added The Hurricane last night when the fierce Stoudemire storm blew threw Conseco Fieldhouse. But Amar’e has embraced SunTzu, a noble yet deceptive warrior that he researched on the internet. Say what you want, but it’s this kind of confidence and bravado that helps shape the player who always keeps us on the edge of our seat. Amar’e is “Must See T.V.” and I can’t wait to see what he does next!
But for now, I am off to the world wide web to google a certain warrior named SunTzu…..a nickname you shouldn’t sneeze at!