As Michael Schwartz pointed out Tuesday night, Amare Stoudemire has filled the US Airways Center with energy and excitement for the past eight seasons. From the five All-Star appearances to the Rookie of the Year Award, STAT has done some phenomenal things in a Suns uniform.
But for every thunderous dunk or 50-point explosion, there’s been a not-so-top-10 moment for Amare. With that said, here are the top 10 worst moment of Amare Stoudemire’s Phoenix Suns career:
10. The Amar’e apostrophe
Not exactly a moment here, but Amare adding the apostrophe to his name pretty much sums up his thirst for attention. Why else on earth would you legally change your name to include an apostrophe in such an obscure place? And the apostrophe wasn’t all, Amare has always been changing his persona. Remember the great Sun Tzu? STAT I can deal with, but Sun Tzu? Between that and the apostrophe, not one of Amare’s best moments.
9. Constant trade rumors
Stoudemire was thrown around like a rag doll during the past couple of offseasons and trade deadlines. His name was mentioned in seemingly every rumored deal on the mill. So often in fact that Schwartz went out and purchased AmareStoudemireTradeRumors.com. One minute he was a Cavalier, then a 76er, then a Warrior and then a Chicago Bull, and he was expected to go out and produce amidst all of this mayhem. The trade rumor saga was a dark time of sorts for STAT.
Again, not exactly a moment, but a few times definitely come in mind that encompass Amare’s immaturity. How about when he was stubborn with then-head coach Mike D’Antoni and wasn’t able to go take criticism or act as a professional? Or when he feuded with Shawn Marion about being top dog on the team? Coincidence or not, D’Antoni and Marion both left, and Stoudemire struggled with his maturity until the last couple of seasons.
7. Laughable defense and rebounding
For the X’s and O’s people, this could easily be No. 1 on this list. Amare has been painful to watch on the defensive end since he broke into the league, and his rebounding has been nearly as pathetic. How can a 6-foot-10 athletic monster fail to ever average 10 rebounds per game over the course of a season? How can a player with so much explosiveness fail to defend opposing power forwards that are significantly slower and weaker? His lack of effort on the glass and the defensive end is the one thing Suns fans will not miss about Amare Stoudemire.
6. Eye surgery
After going through two knee surgeries, the eye surgery for Stoudemire’s partially detached retina, which came on Feb 19, was the icing on the cake . He had to lay face down for 22 hours a day during the summer and was significantly set back because of the injury. Luckily he was able to have a bounce-back season in 2009-10, and the Shaq-Terry Porter team was already pretty dysfunctional, but any career-threatening eye surgery has to be a moment to forget.
5. Lakers series, Lamar Odom going off
Amare basically laid an egg in the Western Conference Finals. He had one game with double-digit rebounds, was throughly torn apart by Lamar Odom, and was a ghost at times offensively. He really never rose to the occasion at all, and proved true the belief that he can’t be a No. 1, or even No. 2, option on a championship team. He showed up for one game where he went off for 42, but he also let Odom grab double-digit boards five out of the six games, including one with 19. It was a forgettable series for STAT and a bad way to end your Phoenix Suns career.
4. Not coming back in 2006
After Stoudemrie underwent his first knee surgery in October of 2005 it was expected that he would be back by mid-February. His rehab took longer than the team had hoped, however, and after scoring a combined 26 points during a three-game comeback Stoudemire and the medical staff decided he wouldn’t return that season. The Suns went on to win 54 games and challenge the Mavericks in the West Finals, before losing 4-2. There will always be that ‘what if’ factor with the 2005-06 season. Just imagine that team with a healthy and explosive Amare Stoudemire.
3. ‘You shouldn’t have said that’ quotes
Stoudemire has never been bashful about saying what’s on his mind, which hurt him more often than helped him during his eight seasons in Phoenix. Like when he called Lamar Odom’s 19-point, 19-rebound performance in Game 1 of the West Finals “lucky.” Or when he declared that he would be Ron Artest like on defense. He said, “I want to be the guy you fear when you see him guarding you.” How did that work out for you, Amare?
2. Knee surgery
It was so difficult to put this at No. 2, because just imagine the type of player that Amare Stoudemire could be if it weren’t for his microfracture surgery. Sure, he is still an All-Star and one of the best and most explosive big men in the league, but he would have been that much more explosive with completely healthy knees. And who knows, the Suns could have very well won a championship when he was on the shelf. He is one of the lucky ones that has come back and been successful after microfracture, but his career will most likely be cut short because of it.
1. Suspended for leaving the bench against San Antonio
Since we are talking about the 10 worst “moments,” leaving the bench after the Robert Horry hip check in Game 4 of the 2007 was far and away Amare Stoudemire’s worst moment as a Phoenix Sun. This was a team that had won 61 games in the regular season and was really a Game 5-victory away from a special postseason run. But thanks to Amare’s brain fart the Suns were without their leading scorer for a pivotal Game 5. Planet Orange was never able to see the full potential of the 2006-07 Phoenix Suns, as they fell to the Spurs 4-2.