The NBA playoffs kick-off today with the New York Knicks playing the Boston Celtics. But power forward Amar’e Stoudemire has other things to do before he gets back on the court. Thursday night was the red carpet premiere of his EPIX original documentary, Amar’e Stoudmire: In The Moment, capturing the life and upbringing of this basketball great. Men’s Fitness attended the premiere and spoke to the fashion designer/athlete/author about his chances of playing in the playoffs, how it feels to have his team in the deepest playoffs run since 1999, and what his aspirations are for the future.
MF: Will you be playing with the Knicks in the playoffs?
AS: Hopefully. We’ll see. I’m doing everything I can to get back out there and be extremely strong and healthy, so hopefully I’ll be out there soon.
Are you nervous about getting back into the game for the first time since your knee injury?
No, I’m not nervous. It’s more so about wanting to be healthy and strong and in top-shape to be ready to play.
Are you running yet?
I’ve started doing a lot of movements. Not too much running right now. But I’ve been shooting.
How frustrating is it that you were one the first guys to turn things around for the Knicks and now they’re set for a title run while you’re battling knee injuries?
Yeah, I mean it’s frustrating but it’s also phenomenal knowing that what I started is actually happening. We have guys like Carmelo, who is playing MVP-caliber basketbal, J.R. Smith, and Tyson Chandler is playing well defensively for us, so we have a great nucleus of guys out there and a great chance to win the title.
How do you feel about your team on the way to getting their first title in 30 years?
It’s very exciting. This is what I had in mind when I signed with New York. So the dream is finally coming true. I mean Carmelo Anthony is playing extremely well. Everything’s working well so far.
What tips do you have for other guys recovering from a knee injury?
Whether it’s knee injuries or injuries in general, perseverance is always the way to go. You have to stay mentally prepared to make sure you have self-discipline in order to recover.
What kind of exercises were you relying on for your knee?
You wouldn’t believe how many exercises I do a day. They’re all kind of a little tough. You’re talking about 5-hour days of training, but I guess probably the most intricate part of the training with the knee is to try to build up your calves, your quads, and your glutes.
For guys who are suffering from an injury, what kind of cardio do you recommend when you can’t really walk or run?
The pool is always the best way to get in shape when you can’t really apply pressure to your legs. You just got to hop in the pool and swim.
How do you stay in shape off-season?
Train. I want to become a physical trainer when I’m done playing basketball. I love to train. It’s addictive.
Do you train people right now?
Well everyone within the team trains each other. So I get to train everyone who works for me and works with me.
How do you feel about facing the Celtics this weekend?
The Celtics are always a tough team to play. You can never get around that. But we’ve also had an incredible year. We have a great leader in Carmelo and we have a great team surrounding him, so we like our chances.
If you come back, do you think you could still bring same amount of energy and momentum?
No doubt. That’s the whole goal of recovering—to reach dominance.
Best dunk of the year. Is it DeAndre?
Yeah, without a doubt. DeAndre Jordon’s dunk on my young boy Brandon Knight. Brandon came from out of Florida, and it’s great to see him successful so far in the league. But that dunk was incredible. No doubt.
You have your own clothing line now with Rachel Roy. Where do you get your fashion inspiration?
My fashion inspiration comes from my inner artistic side. I get inspired by what I see on TV or what I see someone else wearing, and I just piece it together.
What are you most proud of about the documentary?
I actually haven’t seen it yet. I wanted it to be very organic. I wanted the viewers to know it’s pure. I didn’t want to edit it, I didn’t want to correct anything. I just wanted the viewers to see the actual footage of how it is. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be great.
And if you weren’t playing basketball—you clearly have so many other talents—what do you think you’d be doing?
If I didn’t make it in the NBA, I wouldn’t have these opportunities I have now. I’d be a small town schoolteacher.