Amar’e Stoudemire’s brother, Hazell Stoudemire, died tragically after he was involved in a car accident on Monday morning in Florida. Stoudemire was apparently traveling at an excessive speed when he collided with the back end of a tractor trailer, and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The accident happened on Route 27 in Lake Wales. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Stoudemire was driving at a “high rate of speed” when he collided with the rear of a tractor trailer.
He died on the scene.
The Florida Highway Patrol says 35-year old Stoudemire was not wearing a seat belt when he smashed into the big rig … and they are unsure if alcohol was a factor.
The deepest of sympathies undoubtedly go out to Stoudemire and his family, as this tragic event reminds us that an athlete’s life extends beyond the basketball court. And it also allows us to gain a little perspective.
For the talk about athletes being overpaid and the owners being so profit driven, the understanding of the New York Knicks organization is a refreshing sentiment. Stoudemire will not be in uniform tonight when the Knicks take on the Utah Jazz, as he will be tending to his family, but his presence will certainly be felt.
The NBA is a business, one of the most cut-throat entities there are, but when it comes down to it, the athletes—who are often seen as immune to circumstances off the hardwood—are human beings, with families and real life problems, just like anyone else. The entire New York and Knicks community has taken to the realm of social media to show their support and extend their condolences to Stoudemire and his family, and that’s classy.
There isn’t a single market that is tougher to play in than New York. If you have one bad game, you’re heckled by fans and being shopped on the trade market by the franchise. Stoudemire himself has had to deal with this painful reality over the first third of the season.
Despite the brutal mindset of New York and the entire NBA though, when tragedy strikes, and athletes must cope with another painful reality, the nature of the beast is put on the back burner, even if only for a minute.
Professional athletes are held in higher regard than some of our world leaders, they are seen as heroes, role models and even immortals. And while it’s great to see that they can manufacture such inspiration and charisma, we must remember that they are people, first and foremost.
Fresh off an ugly lockout and knowing what a callous business the NBA has become, it’s great to see that the league itself hasn’t forgotten that. And if any solace is to be found within this tragedy, it will be as we extend our own condolences to the Stoudemire family, knowing full well that the Knicks and the NBA have done so first.
Dan Favale is an avid basketball analyst and firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His work can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.