Amar'e Stoudemire attended 'In The Paint' Series #2 with artist Hebru Brantley in January. Amar'e Stoudemire attended 'In The Paint' Series #2 with artist Hebru Brantley in January. Amar'e Stoudemire attended 'In The Paint' Series #2 with artist Hebru Brantley in January. (Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Amar'e Stoudemire)

Amar'e Stoudemire is still scoring big 'In the Paint'

Retired NBA star is passing his passion for art to the underprivileged.

Amar'e Stoudemire collected many accolades while playing professional basketball – six NBA All-Star game appearances, All-NBA five times, NBA Rookie of the Year – but it's another collection of his that's having the biggest impact.

Stoudemire, who recently signed a two-year deal to play for Jerusalem Hapoel of the Israeli Basketball Premier League, is a devoted art collector and has filled his Miami home with works by the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol.

Hoping to pass on his passion, he has started "In the Paint," an experiential art series targeting underprivileged youth in communities across the United States. Stoudemire hopes that the events, which will include live art installations and the opportunity to paint with him and other celebrities, will encourage participants to become more engaged in the arts.

Launched in January of this year, the name is a play off of “In the paint” – a term used in basketball and in art, a celebration of Stoudemire’s love for both. It's run through The Melech Collection, a platform launched by Stoudemire to simultaneously educate and introduce children to mainstream pop culture, emerging artists and the industry of contemporary art.

His most recent event took place in August in his new home country of Israel. The fourth event in the series was held at The Israel Museum in Jerusalem. There, Stoudemire met with children in the Museum’s Youth Wing to create works made of fiber and string, inspired by the Wing’s current exhibition, "Wire(less) Connections."

Stoudemire started taking art seriously almost by accident, having been inspired by a gift. “It was a portrait of me … very elegant, and it had [rapper Tupac Shakur's] lyrics on the back of it, one of my favorite artists. At that moment, that’s when I knew that art was going to be a major part of my life," he said (see more in the video below).

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