Episode #10: Amar'e Stoudemire

Hosted by Nissim Black

July 19, 2021 00:32:48

The NBA all-star joins Nissim to discuss his complicated conversion journey, his emotional and historic connected to Israel, and how he handles the tension of coaching in the NBA while living the life of a fully Orthodox Jew.

The Deal with Nissim Black is produced by The Joshua Network.

This episode is in partnership with the Rosen School - click here to save 20% on your course to study modern Hebrew with classes accredited by Hebrew University.

Episode Transcript

Introduction [00:00:10] 

This is The Deal with Nissim Black.

 

Nissim Black [00:00:23] 

Hello, wheelers and dealers, you know who it is, Nissim Black, a.k.a. G0DSMAN, a.k.a. Hitler’s worst nightmare, a.k.a. Sammy Davis cousin, a.k.a., Yehuda Blackabee. I was born in Seattle to hip hop parents. I got in trouble as a kid, but I was able to make a major life turn around. I was a Muslim in my younger years, I became a Christian in my teens, only to discover that my soul was Jewish all along. So I picked up with my wife and we moved to Israel where we are today. Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been looking forward to this interview for so long, with my brother from another, Yehoshafat ben Avraham, otherwise known as Amar’e Stoudemire. He is a superstar basketball player whose career started in Phoenix. He went on to New York and then ended up here in Israel. He was a six-time All-Star player during his career in the NBA and a two-time All-Star here in Israel, including finishing as the Finals MVP for Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2020. My brother, thank you so much for joining me here on The Deal, finally.

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:01:39] 

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I feel good, thank God. And I feel good.

 

Nissim Black [00:01:43] 

Before I even get into the questions I already gotta ask you, when are you coming home? We miss you. The land misses you.

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:01:48] 

Yeah, I’m trying to. I know Bro, it’s a great question. I’m trying to make it happen. Right now we’re in the offseason, and we are figuring out like summer league schedule and what the team’s going to be doing and draft and so forth. So right now I’m basically in limbo, depending on how the NBA schedule turns out for the summer.

 

Nissim Black [00:02:04] 

So my first official question is, why? Because it’s a humble restart. No lights, no fame for this, no endorsements over here. You’re not going to start, you know, you know, selling seats, you know, anything. You are at the height of your career. You are the man. You’re the man’s man. On the court, off the court, stardom, fame, wealth, success, and somehow, someway, find yourself being lured and attracted to Judaism. Which is like, huh? You know, how did it happen? You know, what was the first thing that caught you? How did you get started on this journey?

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:02:41] 

It’s interesting man, because when I was, when I was young, I got my early, my early young years, my mother and her husband would both explain to me and my brother that we are, very well could be from the Lost Tribes of Israel and that we should find a way connecting back to the Laws of Moses. And at that time, funny enough, it made sense to me. You know, even at a young age, I felt like that was, that sound about right. And then so throughout my youth upbringing I actually started learning as I went on, and obviously I wasn’t in the Jewish community, I didn’t know any Jewish people at the time. It was just me and just learning on my own and just reading it, just trying to make sense of it all. And then once I got into the NBA, I continued that learning. I started learning with other guys who were also somewhat, you know, trying to find a path of righteousness. And then once I got to New York, that’s actually right before I got to New York, I linked up with a rabbi who was saying to me that what I’m teaching, what I’m learning, is very accurate, and he would love to learn with me. And so once I got to New York, I started learning with the rabbi there. And then, sure enough, man, I end up coming in and becoming a citizen of Israel.

 

Nissim Black [00:03:44] 

Crazy. So when you, on this journey, you meet this rabbi. Now, you’re already in the NBA and obviously this is going to, this is life start-over thing. I know my own journey it’s that, it’s not something where it’s like it’s a small thing. It’s like looking up the mountain. I was like, OK, well, I already learned and I know this much. There’s more? And then on top of that, then there’s more? You know, how was it for each transition? You know, because most people don’t know when people go through that journey of having to go through a conversion or a geirus or, you know, even people who are just returning back home. How did you handle each step? Was it always, did you meet it with resistance with the next thing, like, you know, Shabbat and all the laws of Shabbat. Or kashrut and all those different things like that. Did you meet those things with the resistance where it was very hard first? Or was it like a flow and things were easy for you?

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:04:32] 

It was actually kind of hard at first. I mean, when I first started learning about keeping Shabbat and the laws of keeping Shabbat, I’m like, there’s no way! Like, how is this possible? And so I think what helped me a lot is like guys like yourself who I saw as an example of what can be done if I just stayed the course, even though it felt very uncomfortable at first, because coming from a total different background and then getting engulfed into like Orthodox Judaism, it took a while for me to understand everything that that encompasses. But I thank God for allowing me to have the open heart and the humbleness to be able to now put my ego aside and become somewhat of a rookie again in a different world and learn from just scratch of not being able to read Hebrew or write to now reading and writing and so forth, just learning from scratch. You Nissim actually paved the way for a lot of us to be able to see, like, what the goals are and what we can accomplish if we just stay the course.

 

Nissim Black [00:05:26] 

Man, that’s very sweet of you. And I would like to say I learned a lot from you. You see, because one thing that I notice is your ability to just be so humble and to ask the question so many times people fake like they know what it is or they’re put in a position, you know after, I’ve been on this journey for a while, and everybody expects that I should know the answer. So sometimes it’s hard to say, I don’t know. And just seeing you soak up everything like a sponge, whether it was in yeshiva, and I know not only were you, you know, receiving anything from me, but you were just really so, so ready to learn and so eager to learn and humble about it, you know. So I really want to say that I learned a lot from you and I really picked up. I was even talking to my wife about it, just how impressed I was with your just, your ability to just humble yourself in a situation, in a world that, you know, wasn’t always familiar to you. Because not everybody who comes from our background are able to humble themselves when they come in because they feel like they already know everything. So it takes a big thing to be able to stop them, because just like you said, you know, being a rookie again sort of puts you in a position to be able to grow that much more. Right? To be able to start off, like you say, like a rookie, and to be able to grow and eventually become a veteran in this game. So you should know, Sir, you inspired me. So now your newfound relationship with Judaism encompasses a lot of new things. Right. And the biggest question, the elephant in the room all the time for anybody who finds himself returning back to the people, in whatever case is, how does people take it around you? There’s a lot of different things that people were not aware of. How did your family feel? How did your friends feel? The NBA peers, people that, you know, you were involved with in terms of your career? How did they feel about it?

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:07:13] 

Yeah you know, I think, you know when the initial situation happened, when I first traveled to Israel. People were somewhat asking, why am I going to Israel? For vacation, I can go to Ibiza, I can go to, I can go anywhere in the world. Why am I going to Israel? And at that time, it was a secret about what my roots were, you know, my heritage was. And I really wasn’t explaining it to the rest of the world very much. I would drop a few hints here and there. But once I traveled to Israel, I think it was 2010. And when people started discovering my Hebraic roots, that’s when it became something massive. My family was somewhat trying to figure out what that meant. It’s funny because my uncle, who was a Christian pastor for 30 something plus years, and then once he saw my journey and what I was learning, he sat down with me and said, Nephew, everything you’re learning and saying is absolutely correct. That confirmation from someone who’s from a, same family, but different background per se, to confirm the learnings that we’re doing and that we were doing in Israel, was confirmation that I was on the right path. And so my family was open, you know, open with it. And my friends were also somewhat understanding because they saw my journey along the way. So it wasn’t really a strange moment for me. The only strange part about it was, is when I came back from Israel and now I have my kippah on, I have my tzitzit somewhere in my, you know, my black and white. A lot of people didn’t understand what that meant. And then I think now they’re starting to understand.

 

Nissim Black [00:08:37] 

Right. So how do you express that? Because, like, you know, after a while, I just got so tired of everybody asking me questions. You know, in the Jewish world, they question the authenticity of my Judaism. I wouldn’t say the authenticity of my Judaism like my conversion or anything. But in terms of how devoted am I to my Yiddishkeit. And people that would see me when I was, you know, in JFK, or you know, wherever I was in New York or something like that. All the black people also, they started asking me, like, you know, are you still black? Like, you know, like you switched up, like, you know. And I got tired of it. So I dropped my Mothaland Bounce. That was the reason why that song came about. I felt like, you know, I had to be able to give a disclaimer. My expression through the arts is through music. So I made a song and I’mma sum it up in a song in three minutes or so.

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:09:23] 

Right.

 

Nissim Black [00:09:24] 

Of what I am and who I am. How do you feel like you express that? Because it’s like, you can’t keep answering the same question over and over and over again for so many different people.

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:09:34] 

Yeah, I mean, it’s a matter of if they asked me then I wanted to answer. I’m opposed to it. I want people to be curious. I want questions. I want people to ask so I can give them a bit of information about God along the way. Right. So that’s like the easy way to transition over conversation.

 

Nissim Black [00:09:49] 

Wow.

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:09:50] 

And bring them closer to God if they’re curious or want to ask. But yeah, I do see, like from the Jewish world being like a minority, basically, as like a man of color in that space. I felt like when I first got to Israel, I’m like, where’s everyone else? I’m the only guy. I felt a little bit like an oddball.

 

Nissim Black [00:10:06] 

Right.

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:10:06] 

Then I noticed that I wasn’t the only one. And then my learnings continued to push through and everything became much greater because the seriousness of learning seemed to prevail over anything or any stigmatism someone may have or had have at that time. So that stigmatism was gone because of the focus on, because of my focus on learning. And then from when I got back to America, everyone noticed kind of my change in behavior. So then that respect also grew. So it’s actually coming together at the right time.

 

Nissim Black [00:10:33] 

Amazing. So now going back, I don’t know how it happened. Somehow you get a call, email, WhatsApp from Steve Nash, or somebody over there. And he says to me, which, you know, I got a problem. So when I get there anyway, we’re going to sit down, I’mma sit down with Steve and say, man, you took my guy from Israel. You know, we gonna have to talk about it. But anyway.

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:10:53] 

Right, right.

 

Nissim Black [00:10:53] 

That call comes in, that whatever. What are you thinking? Because at one point I know you were thinking about going back. You were doing three on three, you know, during the summer and potentially was going to go back to the NBA in some type of way, some form of fashion. How did that come about?

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:11:09] 

I was actually thinking about going back to Israel to play with Maccabi again this past season.

 

Nissim Black [00:11:14] 

Right.

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:11:14] 

And I was on standby because I was away last year. My son lived with me last year in Israel, and I was somewhat away from the rest of my family for that year. And I was stuck there during Covid. So it was a long, it was a long year for me, being away from the family and not being able to travel back and forth to see them. And so I was like in limbo when I got back to the States, whether I’m going to play again next season, or should I just took a year off and relax? So I was having all these thoughts. And then when Steve Nash got the job with the Brooklyn Nets and, you know, I felt like reconnecting with him on the coaching side would be a smart move. It keeps me, it gives me something to do. And they’re going to have a good team. We had Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, which I thought would be NBA champions or contenders. And so I was like, you know, let me reach out to Steve and see if there’s a possibility there. And then once I got hire, I moved to New York and I’ve been here ever since.

 

Nissim Black [00:12:00] 

That’s amazing. It’s a story, you know, that was a story for the NBA this year of you teaming back up with Nash and being able to have that like, to be able to do something that was so big for NBA culture. So now the season ends and didn’t go exactly the way we all wanted it to. So how does it feel now being the guy in the suit as opposed to being in the basketball suit? You know what I mean? Because, you know, getting close to the dance and being a player, I would imagine that the disappointment maybe is a little bit different. You know, being a coach, you’re on the business side, there’s other things back and you already thinking maybe, you know, draft or all these other things that’s probably going on through your head, and trade. What is it like now not being the guy on the court, but being a coach?

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:12:43] 

Well, I think for me it’s a learning curve, right? Because I never coached before. I never thought about coaching before. It was never a mindset of mine. I actually thought about coaching college, high school or college basketball back when I was, you know, early years in the NBA. I’m like, this would be a cool gig. But I have never really took it serious, far as that was concerned. And so and being a player last year, you know, I felt like, you know, I still can play. I won a championship, I got the Finals MVP.

 

Nissim Black [00:13:10] 

Right.

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:13:12] 

You know, I won, I got All-Star MVPs and everything, like I had, like, I still can play. I still, my health is still great. So now being with the coaching staff and then now being, you know, trying to learn how to manage that personality along with being an ex-player, there’s a level of respect that has to occur that comes from playing and coaching. Right. So coaching side, you’re like, OK, the players look at you as a coach and they will ask you questions. On the player side, you have more swagger. You’re more like, you know, you kind of have your own groove going.

 

Nissim Black [00:13:40] 

Right.

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:13:41] 

So I was caught like in between both faces this year because I was like a player and also a coach, which the players enjoyed because I can relate to them.

 

Nissim Black [00:13:49] 

Right. That’s amazing. Did it hurt just as bad, like, you know what I’m saying? Obviously not being able to cross the line and make it to the finals. Did it feel the same way as a player or do you feel like it was a little bit different?

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:13:59] 

It was a little bit different. I felt a little bit more this year because I really felt like we had a chance to win a championship. Right. And we had a couple of injuries with, to Kyrie and James Harden.

 

Nissim Black [00:14:08] 

Right.

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:14:09] 

That slowed us down this year. So I felt like it was definitely the same type of hurt that we felt when you were a player. But I do feel like the future’s bright for us once those guys get healthy and get ready to go.

 

Nissim Black [00:14:19] 

Right. So we’re talking about dancing between the two worlds of being an NBA player and an NBA coach. Not a lot of people jump in when they still feel like they can lace up their sneakers. You know, so you had to do that. But you’re also in another two worlds. You’re in the NBA world and you’re also in the Jewish world, the Orthodox Jewish world, and balancing that. So I know the first thing that happened and it’s very interesting because, you know, Cain said to God after the whole incident happened, with Hevel, with Able. He says, Am I My Brother’s Keeper? I used to watch a movie back in the day. You probably know of also too, called New Jack City.

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:14:53] 

Right.

 

Nissim Black [00:14:54] 

And they would always say, I am my brother’s keeper. Right.

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:14:57] 

Right.

 

Nissim Black [00:14:58] 

And the reason why I bring that up is, is because every single thing that happens if you end up in the news for anything, my phone blows up. What’s going on? You know, and I’m always thinking to myself, am I my brother’s keeper? I must be, right?

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:15:16] 

Right. Absolutely.

 

Nissim Black [00:15:17] 

As soon as everybody knew that you were going to the Nets, whatever, “Nissim was going on? What’s going on with Yehoshafat? Is he, what’s with Shabbos? What’s with, what’s going on? What’s he going to do?” And I’m just like, I mean, you guys just told me new information! I didn’t even know! No, he didn’t tell me anything. Right. So I reached out to you and I don’t know how in the world you were able to do this, you know, obviously because people respect you. But to be able to negotiate a contract where you’re able to take off Shabbos is amazing. Talk to me about that process and other things that you may have to do with dancing in between these two worlds.

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:15:54] 

Yeah, there’s definitely, there’s loopholes, right. There’s ways you can still not necessarily work, but there’s ways you can figure out around not working on Shabbos. Because I had this conversation back when I was playing in Israel, I’m like, how do I not play on, how do I not play on Shabbat? Like it was a game on Shabbat what do I do? And so there’s ways you can make it happen where someone opens the door for you. There’s ways you can still make it work. But my thing was with the Nets, I want to figure out if it’s OK without being a major interruption to what the norm is, I want to see if I’m able to now take Shabbat off. And so I don’t think it was ever done before. I don’t think it was ever a conversation before within NBA history. And so for me to have that conversation with the front office, they were okay with it because they saw my journey. They see my improvement. They see where I’m holding. They know it’s not just trying to take days off. You know, it’s a serious deal. And so they respect it enough to say, you know what Amar’e, we’ll give you Shabbat off and, you know, and that’s how it works.

 

Nissim Black [00:16:48]

That’s crazy. So as I mentioned, I’m another guy who also has to dance between these two worlds, dance between the hip hop world and the Jewish world. And people always ask me, like, how do you make the balance? And my thing is, I always say that it’s not really so much for me that I’m trying to make a balance. I’m a Yid, I’m a Jew, and every world that I’m in is a world of Yiddishkeit. No matter where the world is. You understand what I’m saying? If I’m there, then Hashem’s presence is there.

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:17:13]

Right.

 

Nissim Black [00:17:13]

And that’s the way that I look at it, and that’s the way I’ve been able to explain it. So you obviously are also to dance in between these two worlds, as we just mentioned. So when you are, you know, team whatever is in photo shoots and everybody, you know, in my profession too, everybody wants to go out for dinner. Everybody wants to go, you know how it goes. So, like, how do you feel like you’re able to balance the two worlds?

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:17:35]

I think once they understand where I’m holding, like once my friends and peers understand, OK, Friday night, Amar’e, he’s tapped out. And then Saturday night, you guys can call me back and we can get active again, you know. And so they understand that. And I think for the most part, a lot of people start to respect it after a while. Once they’re on it, once they get the gist of what you’re, where you’re holding, then people start to respect it and they will only approach it, they will only call you like on the times when you’re available. You know, I turn my phone off and I speak to them on Saturday night.

 

Nissim Black [00:18:01]

Right. So I can imagine, too, are you taking everybody out to kosher restaurants?

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:18:05]

Yeah. When they come to town, man, I try to turn them on to a couple of spots. New York actually got a couple of cool restaurants out here, so.

 

Nissim Black [00:18:12]

Right, right.

 

Nissim Black [00:18:13]

You know, I try to take them out.

 

Nissim Black [00:18:14]

It’s a little bit easier, man, a little bit easier over there.

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:18:17]

The homeies pull up at a kosher spot like, man, where are we? I’m like, man, listen, we at the best spot in town. Once they start tasting that good staek, they’re like, I’m coming back for more.

 

Nissim Black [00:18:29]

By the way, there’s a place over there I was at last time I was there, you were supposed to come, but you fell asleep. Place called me.

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:18:35]

Yeah. Yeah, it’s a good spot.

 

Nissim Black [00:18:37]

Yeah, it’s a good spot, man. I went over there, man. I’ve been dreaming about it ever since. I should stay away. I got to stay away from places like that. And it’s keto-friendly. What is the most impactful book, Rabbi, what was it for you that made you feel like, this makes me want to just change my life? Or, this has given me so much inspiration that I feel like I can walk through walls or whatever it is.

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:18:58]

You know, obviously the Torah, you know, supersedes everything. Right?

 

Nissim Black [00:19:01]

For sure.

 

Nissim Black [00:19:02]

But I think that what gravitated me the most to it was my, my process of conversion. Because I was learning on a daily basis and every day I was learning something new and we went over every topic, the laws of Shabbat, the laws of cooking on Shabbat, you know, all the Yom Tovs. So all these things that I did, I did in an organized learning segment was the best thing for me, bro. And when I was going through that, I was like, this is what I want. I mean, I would wake up, four in the morning to catch a shiur the rabbi was teaching to a group in Mexico. I’d go back to sleep, wake up before seven.

 

Nissim Black [00:19:35]

Wow.

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:19:36]

I was totally, I was totally involved with it because it was so enlightening to me. And I wanted more and more and more. And still today I’m like looking for more structured learning. Even though I’m already done with my conversion process. But the way I learned and how I learned during that space, that’s the land I want to be in with my structured learning. And so that helped me somewhat transition over.

 

Nissim Black [00:19:57]

So now you’re blazing new trails in the NBA. Do you feel like this is your “shlichut”, do you feel like this is what Hashem put you in the world to do? That this is your job to the world to go and be a light in a place where at least a light like this has never been seen before?

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:20:14]

Yeah, I think so. In a sense, I think it’s still happening for me, right. Like it’s still somewhat manifesting because, you know, there’s always more to learn. And so there’s always ways to somewhat be innovative with teaching, having a certain swagger, help with the young crowd, having a sense of intelligence, help with the older crowd, like a way that you somewhat mold yourself. And I think for me, I’m still molding myself. I haven’t really tapped into my full potential yet when it comes to Yiddishkeit and teaching. I feel like that is where I’m headed. And the more you know, the more I learn and study, the better, you know, that’ll happen for me.

 

Nissim Black [00:20:51]

So what was the reason why you chose the name Yehoshafat? How was it given to you? How how did it come about?

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:20:57] 

It’s funny. My chavruta, who I was learning with. You know, I needed a Hebreic name. I asked him, I said yo, I need you to give me, like a meaningful, spiritual Hebraic name. And he went back for a few days and came back to me and said, Yehoshafat. Yehoshafat? Out of all the names, out of all the names in Torah, you’re going to give me Yehoshafat? I’m like who’s this guy? He’s like, go learn about him. So I went and learned about him. And I’m like, alright, this is where I need to be. This is a strong name, I never heard of it before. But I’m like, alright, you know, if you name me this, if you dub me this name, then I’m going to keep it regardless whether it’s an intriguing name or not, you know. So it became something greater because when I got to Israel, no one, you know, has a name Yehoshafat. There’s Yehoshafat Street in Yerushalayim, and the valley of Yehoshafat. And then my charuta, our chavruta Zechariah at the kever. You guys discovered the kevers, right next to each other. Right. In Yerushalayim. So it was a strong name.

 

Nissim Black [00:21:57] 

Amazing. Amazing. Now let’s move into Stat Academy. That’s where I want to get to. Stat Academy is your online learning program that I think you worked in conjunction maybe with some information with Rabbi Rozenberg?

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:22:10] 

Right.

 

Nissim Black [00:22:10] 

Who I was able also to speak to. What is it? Are you still using it today to create awareness for people to understand the, not only the importance, but to try to make an awareness of the lost tribes?

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:22:23] 

Yeah, exactly. Because my awareness that my mother basically taught and told me about, and her husband, of the lost tribes. I was somewhat not completely understanding of what that meant. And so I had to learn about that. And as my learnings proceeded me, then Rabbi Rozenberg reached out and we started learning together. And his family has a history of finding the  lost tribes of Israel. We daven to bring the lost tribes back from the four corners of the earth. And so once we built that academy course, our objective was to figure out a way to now start from the beginning of the Torah and figure out exactly what happened to this diaspora. Where did they go? How did things shift? Just so we can give everybody clarity on the diaspora, which is a major topic right now. It’s a major topic within the governmental space. Politicians are trying to figure it out. And so we have, we’ve build the course, Rabbi Rozenberg and I, that explains a lot of information that people are trying to discover about the diaspora.

 

Nissim Black [00:23:18] 

Right. So a lot of people right now are waking up. There’s so many different groups. I discussed it with him at length. I talked to Rudy Rochman, who, you know, I tried to turn you on to him, also too, he’s doing some great work in that space, also too. Of just people just really feeling like there’s a major yearning to return and to find their way back to Har Sinai, if you will. And it feels like it’s chaval, because there’s not enough coming out from the community as a whole doing this outreach. Right, especially to the communities that we were from and all the different similarities of history, even with the African-American community as well. Have you been actively involved in people from your own community and creating awareness and trying to, like to some degree, because we’re not proselytizing, we’re not allowed to proselytize to some degree, but to create an awareness, but to be able to sort of wake people up to the to the fact that, hold on. It could be. It could be.

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:24:13] 

Right, exactly. And that’s that’s my thing. I don’t over-exceed myself. I don’t try to overly teach someone who’s not willing to learn. More of like an answer guy. Like you ask questions, I give you the answers, right. And so, yeah, I mean, I think just having an awareness and being beacons of light for the people so they can see what a Tzadik’s supposed to be and so they can have, somewhat reach for those stars. I think before there wasn’t many of us in this Jewish Orthodox space that we had as examples that we can follow. You know, I felt like I was the first generation, I’m the first generation guy. I’m like the first, I didn’t see a lot of African-American Orthodox Jews when I was coming up, before I made my conversion process. Right. I ran into you guys in Israel, which was very helpful. But before that, I really had no examples from my community that was in that space. And so for me now to be an example for the next generation, and you as well, you know, it allows us to really, to set the record straight for them so they can start following a righteous path.

 

Nissim Black [00:25:15] 

Right. So the question is, what’s next? You know, how long before you get back to Israel actually? What’s next? Is it, are you Nets crazy right now? You wake up thinking about the Nets, go to sleep, thinking about the Nets. Of course obviously, you’re thinking of Torah and learning and mikvah all the other other holy things. But what else happens next?

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:25:34] 

You know what, we will see, man. I think occupation wise I’m, still, you know, with the Nets now. We’ll see what happens next year and what that entails for sure. I plan on going back to Israel. I have to find my “isha” out there. So, I’m definitely flying back to the Land, you know, not only for that though, but for friends and family I haven’t seen in a while and get back to my Yeshiva and start learning. So I can’t wait to get back to the Land for sure.

 

Nissim Black [00:25:56] 

Well we’re waiting on your man. Waiting on you. I appreciate you coming on. Really do. And I’m going to be there in a few weeks. So no excuses, man. No falling asleep.

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:26:06] 

I got you brother. We’ll link up for sure this time.

 

Nissim Black [00:26:09] 

I wish you every bracha in the book.

 

Amar’e Stoudemire [00:26:11] 

Todah rabah, achi. Nissim Black! Thanks, brother. We’ll talk soon.

 

Nissim Black [00:26:15] 

Alright, talk soon. Alright, brother. So, again, another amazing discussion here on The Deal, with the man himself and one of the biggest reasons why I even wanted to have this interview, apart from him just being a dynamite individual and a real individual, was the fact that he, just like I, have to dance to some degree in these two worlds and as I mentioned in the interview, it’s sort of like bringing our world into that world. And I wanted to be able to provide the audience with a with a straight answer from the man himself. You know, as I mentioned, you know, us being brothers and being friends and being close and people knowing about it, you know, I get messages left and right. So now everybody hears it from themselves. Not only is he holding it down, but he’s just being a big Kiddush Hashem. Sanctifying God’s name in places where it would have never been heard and would have never even been thought of, at least not in this fashion. So that was real. And it’s very, very real to me. Because of that, I have to leave you with a song and a song that is going to put a little pep you step. In fact, that may even make you bounce. So my song today is Mothaland Bounce, and I think it’s appropriate to leave you with it for reasons mentioned in the conversation. So until next time, I want you to be strong and only go from strength to strength.

 

Music: 

“Mothaland Bounce” by Nissim Black plays

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