There?s the LeBron James way to leave a team, and then there is a way to do so with class. Amare Stoudemire chose to take the latter road in his departure from the Phoenix Suns.
Stoudemire seems to be the forgotten free-agent acquisition amongst all of the drama swirling around "The Decision" and the formation of the big three in Miami. The five-time All-Star signed a five-year contract with the New York Knicks earlier this month that is worth nearly $100 million.
Yet despite his excellent resume, a max contract and a new place to call home in the Big Apple, Stoudemire not only made sure that he left Phoenix without upsetting fans, but he made sure they felt his appreciation for his time there.
The 27-year-old former rookie of the year thanked the Phoenix Suns fans in a newspaper ad that ran Friday in The Arizona Republic.
Stoudemire said that calling his decision to leave "difficult" would be an understatement, as he expressed his gratitude for the eight years of support he received while in a Suns uniform.
The 6-foot-10 forward has become one of the game?s elite players since being drafted ninth overall in 2002. He has averaged 21.4 points and 8.9 rebounds per game in his eight seasons.
Stoudemire?s exit is far less eye-popping and extreme than the hour-long special that LeBron James appeared in last week on ESPN to announce his decision. But such dignity and class on the part of Stoudemire ensures that he — unlike LeBron — will be respected for his services to the team, despite not winning a ring.