Amar'e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks has seen better days, but he wants the world to remember he's an unremitting warrior who will never stop fighting.
To ensure this, Stoudemire is starring in a new EPIX documentary entitled, Amar'e Stoudemire: In the Moment.
Premiering on April 19th, the eve of the NBA playoffs, the film takes you through the life of Stoudemire and his journey to the pros. It provides an in-depth look about growing up in Florida, his family, his days with the Phoenix Suns, his decision to join the Knicks and the rigorous rehabilitation program he is still following today.
Throughout the documentary, the urgency behind Stoudemire's return is never ignored. He himself acknowledges the public's perception of his current situation, and it becomes clear early on that he comprehends the gravity of his next comeback.
In conjunction with the film, Stoudemire was made available for interview by conference call. During the conversation, the star forward addressed the lingering questions surrounding his health, return, the film itself and his hope for the future.
Amar'e, first off, how is rehab going and, second of all, do you anticipate being able to come back during the postseason?
There's no timetable set on my return. Hopefully I can return soon enough for the postseason. I'm gearing toward that, but if not, I want to make sure I'm ready and 100 percent.
Did you say the documentary will include some of your rehab? If that's the case, what do you feel will be shown in your rehab that any of us haven't seen yet?
You guys are going to see the full training regime. It gets in-depth on how hard I train and what it takes for me to persevere over the past three years.
Do you have any idea what brought this on [the injury]? Was there any relation to playing the four games in five nights right before the surgery?
I don't think so. I think it was just a matter of time before it happened. It actually happened at the perfect time, because it gives me a chance to have hope to return for the postseason.
Is there any different focus or different training for you during this recovery than last time? And with the playoffs ahead, considering games become more physical, are you factoring that in with your preparation? Maybe more preparation for playoff-type games for yourself?
It's the same process, same focus, same determination from any procedure, any surgery, any recovery. Nothing's going to change from that matter. Hopefully, I can be able to be 100 percent by the postseason.
It's one thing to be a player, be injured and heal without the cameras following you, but how is it tracking your process with a documentary in tow? Why did you think that was important to show?
I think there are a lot of fans, a lot of young athletes that are going through similar procedures and similar hiccups in their career. To be able to visualize and see what I go through, and how to persevere through it, is going to be a breakthrough for them.
How frustrating was this for you to come back, all the work you did from the first one, kind of just got your feet under you, were where you wanted to be and then have this come down?
It's definitely frustrating because I was starting to play well and I was feeling great. But it comes with the game of basketball. It happens to be something that I have to deal with in my career. So I keep my spirits up. I've got to attack my recovery the way I attack the rim.
Who do you lean on during these times? Who close to you do you lean on when you're rehabbing from this injury?
I lean on my family. My family always gives me encouraging words, and my friends as well.
Do you worry at all given the number of knee ailments you've had during your career and the procedure you've had your knee? Do you worry if there comes a point where you're not able to come back as the same player everyone is used to seeing?
No, you can never have that thought process. When you have that thought process you already put yourself in a position to lose.I would never have that thought process.
How much of the documentary touches on growing up in Florida and your time with the Phoenix Suns? And also, is there any part of you that's thinking that 'maybe I should just wait until next season to come back, when I know 100 percent that I'm back to being as strong as I can be?'
For your first question, it does touch on my childhood upbringing and what I had to persevere through as a youth before I started playing basketball. With your second question, it all depends on how I feel. If I feel 100 percent by the postseason, then I should be ready for next season as well. If not, then I will have to probably wait until next season.
Was there a specific time where you yourself pinpointed that you were having issues or you knew that your knee wasn't responding the way it had in previous games, that the team medical staff said you need surgery again? Have you pinpointed when that happened?
I felt some soreness a few games before the Oklahoma City game. After that game I wanted to make sure everything was OK, and that's when I first knew we needed to have a minor procedure.
The Knicks, with their winning streak, what's impressed you about their play, and also Kenyon Martin, how well and fast he's adjusted to the team?
He's played well. With the absence of myself and Tyson, he's stepped in and playing solid basketball for us. The team is doing a great job moving the ball and playing solid defensively. So it's great to watch.
Is your focus still coming back as a low-post threat? The team could use some inside scoring at times. Is that still your focus looking to come back in a similar role as when you came back [the first time]?
How proud are you of your work with this documentary and how excited are you for it to come out?
The reason I'm so proud about this is it gives my fans an inside scoop on my life. What they normally see is me on the basketball court, and for them to really get an understanding of me...this documentary will truly explain it to them.
As far as the process to get back on the floor goes, is there a schedule or a date, by which you hope to start running, hit the floor or start shooting, or are you doing any of that yet?
I haven't really started to get too far into detail yet as far as that's concerned. It's only been two weeks since the procedure, so we're still taking precautionary measures and just making sure everything heals up perfectly before we get too far ahead of ourselves.