Hit Jerusalem's hot spots with a former NBA All-Star

Amar'e Stoudemire talks sports, entrepreneurship and that amazing Israeli food during a visit to an outdoor market.

After 14 seasons playing in the NBA, you could say All-Star Amar'e Stoudemire has picked up a life lesson or two.

The Florida-born, 6-foot-10 Stoudemire, who followed a winding path from poverty to professional basketball fame in the United States, now plays for Hapoel Jerusalem, where he's also a part-owner. And now that he's made himself at home in the Israeli capital, Stoudemire just loves to stroll through town, taking in the sights and sounds, mingling with fans and citizens and sitting down for a good, hearty Mediterranean meal.

But on a recent visit to Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda Market, the basketball veteran's mind was on topics unrelated to sports.

Stoudemire opened up to Forbes recently about what being in the NBA for 14 years really did for him – and it was more about networking and closing deals than dunking and playing defense.

Amar'e Stoudemire bought a stake in Hapoel Jerusalem, a pro basketball team in Israel, in 2013.Amar'e Stoudemire bought a stake in Hapoel Jerusalem, a pro basketball team in Israel, in 2013. (Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images)

"Most NBA guys don't build their portfolio while they're playing," Stoudemire said. "So I wanted to try to set an example for most of my peers ... there's a four-year game expectancy in the NBA, so within that time, you've got to build relationships and make connections with the right people so that you can build a portfolio that will last long after basketball."

Being able to continue his career in Israel, he said, has allowed Stoudemire to continue setting that entrepreneurial example. After all, the country is known for its forward progress in the tech arena and has one of the world's highest concentrations of startups.

"The new generation of players ... we're starting to learn that this is a business," he said. "You've got to protect your brand, and I think guys are starting to buy into that now."


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