American-Israeli basketball player and coach Amar’e Stoudemire was born in Lake Wales, Florida in November 1982.
Stoudemire played basketball in high school for three different schools. He was a prep-to-pro player and won several preps including being selected as Florida’s Mr. Basketball. He won a bronze medal with the U.S. team at the 2004 Olympic Games.
He went on to play as a forward for the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks, with stints at the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat before retiring from the NBA in 2016. But he didn;t retire from professional basketball. In 2016, he signed a two-year deal with Hapoel Jerusalem, a team he co-owns in the Israeli Basketball Premier League. He is credited with helping Hapoel win the Israeli Basketball League Cup.
Stoudemire was raised Baptist but identifies with the Black Hebrew Israelites through his mother. “I have been aware since my youth that I am a Hebrew through my mother, and that is something that has played a subtle but important role in my development,” he said in a 2010 Jerusalem Post interview. In March 2019, Stoudemire was granted Israeli citizenship and adopted the name Yahoshafat Ben Avraham. He converted to Judaism in 2020.
Currently, he serves as a player development assistant for the Brooklyn Nets. He sold his $3.5 million mansion west of Fort Lauderdale when he joined the Nets.
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The former NBA player is also a farmer on his 200-acre estate in Dutchess County, upstate New York. He raises Black Angus cattle and other livestock and says his grandfather fostered his love for farming.
“For me, the idea is to have a self-sustainable lifestyle and to create something that my children can inherit as they get older,” Stoudemire said.
When he’s not on the road with the Nets, you can catch him on his farm or at Union Square Greenmarket, the largest farmer’s market in New York City. There he sells his products, including fresh-cut meats and maple syrup.
Both Stoudemire’s mother and grandfather were farmers. His mother picked oranges in Florida and apples in upstate New York during autumn.
“My grandfather was an avid fisher, so we always had fresh fish for the community. He did not have his own land but he had his own house with fruit trees, with fishing. He had grapevines,” he said.
The number of African American farmers in the U.S. shrunk from 925,708 or 14 percent of all farmers in 1920 to 45,508 Black farmers in 2017 — roughly 1.3 percent of all 3.4 million U.S. farmers, according to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture Census. Just 2 percent of U.S. farmers are African-American. This is because Black farmers in the U.S. have been discriminated against.
More than 100 years of discriminatory practices and policies have disproportionately disadvantaged Black owners of farmland, The Guardian reported. Historic discrimination in the USDA related to federal farm assistance and lending caused Black farmers to lose millions of acres of farmland. This discrimination robbed Black farmers and their families of hundreds of billions of dollars of inter-generational wealth.
READ MORE: Florida Judge Stops USDA Relief Payments To Black Farmers: 3 Things To Know
Stoudemire says he wants it known that there are still African Americans who are passionate about farming, like himself.
Stoudemire said he believes that stressed cattle can transfer the stress to the meat. “I want my cattle to live and graze in a stress-free environment,” he said. He sometimes prefers to let the cattle graze by themselves, chill, and relax. “There’s some times where the cows are just out there with nature.”
In addition to this, Stoudemire is committed to farming meat that is free from GMOs or genetically modified organisms. He does a soil survey for his land and makes sure that everything is running smoothly. “The objective is to have a self-sustainable farm that’s grass-fed and most importantly for people to consume GMO-free products,” Stoudemire said.
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