Thursday Amare Stoudemire was named as a Second-Team All-NBA selection, a deserving honor for the Knicks’ power forward who for a large part of the season was a viable MVP candidate. Stoudemire was sixth in the NBA in scoring, averaging just over 25 a game, while also pulling down 8.2 rebounds per game and blocking nearly two shots per.
When Stoudemire signed with the Knicks as a free agent this summer before LeBron James had made his infamous "Decision", Stoudemire declared to the city that "the Knicks are back." He did his part in resurrecting the once proud franchise, one that prior to his arrival was desperately in need of a legitimate star figure to build around. And while the Knicks perhaps overpaid him, and questions about his deteriorating knees may become a hot topic in the coming years, it was the signing of Stoudemire that started to turn around the fortunes of the franchise. He carried the Knicks through the first half of the season, earning the "MVP! MVP!" chants that resonated through Madison Square Garden on a nightly basis. He also became the first Knick in what seems like forever to start an All-Star game.
When the Knicks went out and acquired Carmelo Anthony, they gave Stoudemire the superstar teammate that he needed to in order for the Knicks to truly contend for an NBA title. If the Knicks do win a championship during the Amare-‘Melo years, Stoudemire will be the guy who is most revered. His decision to take on the New York challenge before anyone else is admirable, and if he can help bring a title to the Knicks, he will go down as an all-time Knicks great because of it.
The Knicks still haven’t won a playoff game, let alone a playoff series, in a decade. Stoudemire’s injury in Game 2 of the Knicks’ sweep at the hand of the Boston Celtics was a big reason for that streak continuing despite the Knicks reaching the playoffs. But if the Knicks can continue to build around Stoudemire and Anthony, and make shrewd decisions in the coming seasons, they’ll certainly end that streak, and hopefully will have a few shots at ending the championship drought that exists in basketball’s best city.