Amar'e Stoudemire Finds Comfort in Kevin Durant's Signature Shoe
Besides his bumped-up scoring and rebounding averages, here are some other impressive stats (courtesy of the awesome folks in the Suns' PR department) that show just how much Stoudemire has upped his game as of late:
- Amar'e posted a personal season high of 44 points on Friday against the Jazz, which was the second time he's gone over the 40-point mark this season. The first time was less than three weeks ago against the Spurs; it's the fewest number of days (20) he's gone between 40-point efforts since the 2004-05 season.
- Stoudemire has eight 30-point-plus performances since the All-Star break, which has him tied for the league lead in that category with Kevin Durant.
- Stoudemire is currently on a career-best streak of scoring 19 or more points in 22 consecutive games. It doesn't sound that impressive initially, until you realize he's just two games away from tying the Suns' franchise record of 24 straight games, set by Tom Chambers back in 1990.
If you ask Stoudemire what the change has been, he'll tell you that he always takes his game up a notch after the All-Star break, and that's simply what he's doing again this season. But there might be another reason for the statistical improvement -- it might be the new shoes.
Stoudemire is a Nike guy, but he changed up his footwear a couple of weeks ago from one line to another. He began the season wearing the Hyperize, but he's recently switched to wearing Kevin Durant's signature shoe, the KD II. And it's hard to argue with the results.
"I've been wearing them for ... how long have I been wearing these, Duds? The Kevin Durants," Stoudemire asked his next-door locker room neighbor, Jared Dudley.
"You've been wearing them probably about, a week and a half, two weeks?" Dudley replied.
"Yeah, I've been wearing 'em for a couple of weeks," Stoudemire continued. "They're not bad, they're not bad. It's always Nike Mafia," Stoudemire said. "We always support each other's shoes and gear within the Nike family."
When asked what he liked about his new kicks, Stoudemire, like any good product pitch man, explained the benefits of the KD IIs.
"I think with KD's shoes, they're light, they're low, and it really allows me to use my quickness with those shoes," Stoudemire said. "So that's why I like 'em."
Before the switch, Amar'e was wearing the Hyperize -- the shoes that were supposedly banned by the Pistons' team trainer for their lack of ankle support. But Stoudemire never had any problems with them, and mentioned only aesthetics as the reason for making a change.
"They're actually one of the lightest shoes I've played in, and they're comfortable," Stoudemire said of the Hyperize. "But I just wanted to step my style game up a notch, honestly."
Fair enough, and it's hard to argue against the KD IIs when compared to the Hyperize, when you're looking at the two from simply a perspective of style.
As for some of the older kicks, Stoudemire took a little while to answer when asked what might be one of his favorite pairs of all time. But eventually, he picked one of the classics.
"Oh man, there are so many shoes. You know which ones I liked the most? Maybe the old Penny Hardaways," Stoudemire said. "The first Pennys. When they had the Tyra Banks commercial with Lil' Penny? Those were the days."
Indeed they were.
For the record, Stoudemire wouldn't mind being similarly featured in his own ad campaign -- signature shoe and all.
"That'd be nice, if we could get Nike to make a custom or a signature shoe for me. I think I'd do a good job of selling those shoes," Stoudemire said, as he flashed his most genuine, salesman-esque smile.