STAT made it a point to not forget where he’s from.
(Courtesy of Amar’e Stoudemire)

Most people head to Orlando, FL to relax and vacation. But Amar’e Stoudemire isn’t most people.

This past weekend, Stoudemire and his “Each One, Teach One” Foundation returned to his old stomping grounds to throw a “goodwill giveaway” in his old neighborhood. Over 1500 people turned out at one of his former high schools, Lake Wales, to catch a peek and interact with the four-time All-Star.

STAT came armed with loads of Nike gear for the community’s youth and chatted with local families that turned out to welcome home the 6-10 forward/center.

“Making sure all the kids here in Lake Wales have a good start to their school year,” Stoudemire said on Twitter. “I’m looking out for our youth.”

After the appearance, the former Rookie of the Year made his way over to the court by his grandmother’s house. STAT reminisced about how that court was the first place he played organized basketball.

“This is it! This is where it all began,” he reflected. “You have to appreciate where you come from.”

Getting an education was the message of Stoudemire’s talk with the youth of Lake Wales. As one of the last players to go straight from high school to the NBA, his recent eye injury reminded him how fortunate he was and how fleeting a professional basketball career can be.

The kids in the audience, who ranged from ages 5 to 17, were told by STAT that not everyone is going to become a professional athlete and that they needed to have an education to fall back on.

“Being smart is supercool,” Stoudemire told The Lakeland Ledger. “A lot of people say what you don’t know can’t hurt you. That’s not true because what you don’t know can actually kill you.”

Click here for photos of STAT at the event.

Or you can follow him on Twitter at Amareisreal.

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