Amar'e Stoudemire retired from the NBA this week after playing 14 seasons with the Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat.
The forward will be remembered most vividly for his time in Arizona with Steve Nash. He was an integral part of the “Seven Seconds or Less” era of basketball there.
Stoudemire became the perfect forward to have running the pick and roll with the two-time MVP. The play became a lynchpin of the team’s offence. The Western Conference became powerless to stop this devastating attack surrounded by three-point-specialists on all sides.
The beautiful basketball that the Suns fostered lives on in the free-wheeling play of the Golden State Warriors, who prize ball movement and expert shooting in their own sets.
To remember the high-flying forward’s career, here are the three best games he had with the team that drafted him back in 2002:
3) Career high 50 against the Blazers
Quentin Richardson said: “He looked like Wilt Chamberlain”. For one night, we suppose that comparison made some sense.
At 22-years-old, the forward managed to pour in 50 points and snag 11 rebounds against the Portland Trailblazers.
He even made it look easy as he connected on 20-of-27 shots from the field. We have seen players score these kinds of gaudy numbers but rarely with that kind of efficiency.
Everything wasn’t perfect for the young forward from that point on but there were definitely the building blocks to greatness in that performance.
2) Lighting up the Mavs for 40/16
Stoudemire was becoming a household name by this point of his career in 2005. The pace that his team played at caused a stir among casual basketball fans as the open nature of the offence drew in new fans from all over.
The Suns were the big draw in the NBA and S.T.A.T.’s play was a big reason for that. The best game that he had in the playoffs that season was his 40 point and 16 rebound performance against the Dallas Mavericks.
He flashed all the dazzling parts of his game against a younger Dirk Nowitzki. They just couldn’t stop him and this was a moment of arrival on a big stage for the young big man.
1) Scoring 42 Points against the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 Playoffs
Heading back to Phoenix down two-to-zero after the first two games of the 2010 Western Conference Finals in Los Angeles couldn’t have been a comfortable feeling.
S.T.A.T. showed up big when his team needed him the most. He scored 42 points on better than 50 percent shooting and pulled down 11 rebounds.
The home team could not afford to go down three games and find themselves on the brink of elimination. Couple this with the fact that they were facing the defending champions and the performance looks even better in retrospect.
The Florida native thoroughly outplayed Lakers forward Pau Gasol in their individual matchup. Gasol had more than his fair share of trouble with the athleticism on display that evening from his counterpart.
The power forward even managed to outduel Kobe Bryant in this instance. He outscored the Black Mamba and secured crucial rebounds down the stretch to clinch the victory.
That is standing tall and talented.