Amar’e Unplugged: Stoudemire Reflects On Suns Era

It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade since Amar’e Stoudemire wore a Phoenix Suns uniform.

The former lottery pick who went from a virtual unknown to a six-time NBA All-Star opened up about his time in Phoenix, playing alongside Steve Nash, the tragic passing of close friend Kobe Bryant and much more in a Skype interview with Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat.

Here are a few excerpts from the video interview above. 

The best teammate you had when you were with the Suns?

“I think on the court my best teammate(s) [were] Steve Nash and Shawn Marion. Those guys were veteran players. They were very pivotal [to] my basketball I.Q. like that – for me to grow even more. Off the court, I would say Joe Johnson I was very good friends with. We hung out all the time together and also I would say Stephon Marbury. Steph was a guy who showed me around. He showed me all the shopping stores. He showed me places to go and eat. Who to meet. How to train in the off-season. So, in my early years those guys were quintessential to my development.”

When Shaquille O’Neal came in, February of 2008…there’s really a debate that that was the beginning of the end. Not a criticism but did that start to change everything?

“You know what, I don’t think so. I think things changed. We brought in Shaq. We hired a new head coach [who] was Terry Porter. I don’t think Terry Porter understood our style of play, as far as Steve and I. Shaq was a low-post threat. But Steve and I had a fast break style of play that Shaq had to adapt to. I don’t think Terry Porter was willing to, or didn’t know how to, blend all those talents together. But once Alvin Gentry stepped in, we started rolling once again.” 

When you heard the news about Kobe [Bryant’s passing]. Just some thoughts on competing against him.

“Kob was a fierce competitor, man. I know everything says the same about Kobe, right? But it’s true. Every time we played against the Lakers, he always had a tandem. He had a tandem team. Shaq and Kobe at first and then you had [Pau] Gasol and [Andrew] Bynum. Two seven-foot guys in the paint. He always had a fierce team with him. Whenever they came to Phoenix…there’s a lot of LA people who move to Phoenix. But you also had your Phoenicians in Phoenix so the game was like always rowdy, loud, intense. We loved it. We loved it. Whenever Kobe played, we knew had our hands full. We knew Kob was going to give us everything he [had]. But we weren’t backing down.”  

   

 

 

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.