theGrio’s 100: Amar’e Stoudemire, inspiring kids to read is a slam dunk

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Amar'e Stoudemire is a professional basketball player, author, motivational speaker and philanthropist. The six-time NBA All-Star sat down with theGrio.com's Todd Johnson to discuss his place on theGrio's 100 list for 2013.

Who is Amar’e Stoudemire?

Amar’e Stoudemire, 30, is a professional basketball player, author, motivational speaker and dedicated philanthropist. The six-time NBA All Star is an admired player who has not only left his mark on the game, but also on the community through his outreach work and grassroots involvement.

He is a member of the West African country of Mali’s basketball commission and he was named Good Will Ambassador to Sierra Leone. Through his Foundation, Stoudemire has been able to provide much-needed resources for students, basketball tournaments and overseas projects.

Stoudemire overcame a challenging childhood to reach NBA stardom with the Phoenix Suns. Then after eight seasons with the team, he joined the New York Kicks in 2010. In New York he turned around a struggling team and led the Kicks into playoffs.

Why is he in theGrio’s 100?

The New York Knicks captain is on a mission to use his high-profile status to help-at-risk youth using the power of education. Through his charitable foundation, thousands of children have been helped to achieve goals well beyond their expectations.

Just over a year ago, Stoudemire signed a deal with Scholastic Press to write a series of middle-grade chapter books called STAT: Standing Tall and Talented. The first book in the series, STAT: Home Court, which Stoudemire describes as partially autobiographical, was published in August 2012. Since then, two more books have followed.

The series is about his life as a towering 6’10″middle school student who overcame many obstacles to eventually achieve personal and professional success. He has said the books are part of his ongoing efforts to promote child literacy.

When asked why he chose to tell his stories through novels targeted at children, Stoudemire said, “I decided to write for children because although I am an avid reader now, I wish I had read more as a child. I hope that together with Scholastic, we can creatively inspire a new generation to read.”

What next for Stoudemire?

Last year was a big year for Stoudemire. In December, he married his long-term partner and mother of his three children, Alexis Welch. Last month the couple announced they are expecting their fourth child.

Follow Amar’e Stoudemire on Twitter at @Amareisreal