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I can almost understand why Amare Stoudemire punched the glass of a fire extinguisher last night outside the locker room. The New York Knicks basketball player has had about as bad a year as a professional athlete can have. His older brother died in a car accident in February. He's been injured this season with a bulging disc in his back flaring up in March. He seems to have lost his explosive first step and overall agility. For the first time since 2006 he didn't make the NBA All-Star game. And he's no longer the star of his team as he was last year and for several years before that with the Phoenix Suns. 

Carmelo Anthony has usurped Stoudemire's kingdom as the team's leading scorer. Melo is taking most of the team's shots. Selfish? Yes. Good team move? Not really. Should Amare be bitter? Yes. He's a bona fide star--or at least was--and Melo doesn't seem to care about Amare as long as Melo gets to shoot as often as he wants. For Melo winning seems secondary to boosting his scoring average.

It must be tough for a star to realize that he's not the star anymore, not the go-to guy. It must be especially tough when it happens within one year as it has for Stoudemire. One day a year ago people were talking about him being the NBA's MVP. Now he's lost in space on a team that doesn't look to him to carry them through tough times. He's just another guy on the court.

I suspect his ego hit lies at the core of why he slugged the fire extinguisher glass last night and cut his hand, probably preventing him from playing in the next game and maybe another. When you bruise a guy's ego, tell him he's just not that good anymore, it hurts especially a former superstar. You start to doubt yourself, wonder if your days are numbered. You have been told your whole life you're great and then one day you're told you're not. It's a tough phase of life. Losing a brother certainly makes it so much worse.

So while he was selfish and wrong-headed to punch that glass, and he hurt his team's slim chances of beating the Heat in the Series, and he was irresponsible in self-inflicting a wound and not earning his $100 million contract, he's a human being who has had enough. He exploded. We've all done it when we reach a certain point and can't take life anymore.

He was not right for what he did. But I give him a pass on this one.

 

 

 
May 1, 2012  06:45 PM ET

Agree. And that some have called it unforgivable is just grandstanding. While punching glass is a dumb, dangerous way of expressing your frustration or passion for the game, arguably a better choice of target than taking it out on another person as Mr. Metta Artest did recently.

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