Yesterday Amare Stoudemire spoke to 300 kids a local elementary school showing once again that despite everything that we know or think we know about Amare, he's at heart a decent person.
Unlike many young stars, Amare has never been in trouble off the court and while he might use his twitter account in ways that make us shake our heads (pimping debit cards?) he's never given us reason to wonder about his mental health or if he was getting into things he shouldn't be.
Listening to the full audio of Amare's interview with Craig Grialou from Sports 620 KTAR and Paul Coro from the AZ Republic, you once again hear a guy who's saying all the right things about getting better and wanting to stay in Phoenix but is also being realistic about what his future might hold.
Not to pick on Greg at Fanster, but in this article he takes Amare to task for being too focused on his own legacy. I think it's important to note that all this talk about his legacy was in response to questions about how serious his eye injury was and the possibility that his career might have been over.
After a life threatening illness people reevaluate their priorities and what I hear from Amare is a player doing the very same thing with his career.
Too much "I" and not enough "we" is definitely one way to look at Amare. He certainly has a healthy ego and is not shy talking about himself. I love that he has the confidence to say what he's thinking without concern about how it might be taken. Things might change quickly with Amare but if you ask him, he's going to tell you where his head's at. That's not only a refreshing change from buttoned up athletes it's a wonderful sign that he's focused on the right things and not overly concerned with his image or legacy.
As for being a selfish player, Amare in the very next sentence after answering a question about his legacy talks about the team, "As long as there's improvement. As long as we're winning. As long as we're trying to win. As long we we're fighting . As long as we're together, we'll be in good shape."
Again I am not trying to pick on my buddy Greg, he certainly has a point when you look at Amare and his career, but when you listen to the entire interview and his overall body of work I think we also have to recognize that Amare is a complicated guy in a complex situation.
People close to Amare describe him as someone who struggles to say "no" to the people around him which is indicative of what we already knew about this talented young star. He's a guy with a huge heart and who's talent and abilities have carried him very far in life and he's also someone who seems to have lacked the right mentor to guide him through a very unique set of circumstances.
I remain leery that Amare will ever be the player that his potential suggests. But for him as a person I certainly hope he's learned something from his brush with a career ending injury and he comes out this season not only a better player but a more mature leader.
With Amare Stoudemire we sometimes have to go beyond his own words to better understand who he is.
Full audio provided by Sports 620 KTAR after the jump...Amare Stoudemire. August 25, 2009