NBA: Amare Stoudemire 'jokes' he would avoid gay team-mate

Amare Stoudemire of Hapoel Jerusalem during the EuroCup Top 16 game against Zenit. Photo/Getty Images
Amare Stoudemire of Hapoel Jerusalem during the EuroCup Top 16 game against Zenit. Photo/Getty Images

Six-time NBA All-Star Amare Stoudemire has come under fire for saying that he would avoid a team-mate if he discovered the player is gay.

The distasteful comments came just two days after the big-man won Israel's prestigious Martin Luther King Jr. Award for his work with underprivileged children.

Stoudemire is playing for Hapoel Jerusalem in the Israeli Premier League, and was asked about a hypothetical gay teammate by Israeli website Walla Sport.

"I'm going to shower across the street, make sure my change of clothes are around the corner," Stoudemire said, with a grin. "And I'm going to drive; take a different route to the gym."

When asked whether he was joking, Stoudemire responded with: "I mean, there's always a truth within a joke."

Former NBA player John Amaechi was quick to call Stoudemire out for his comments, referring to the former Knicks star as a petulant man-child who was "spouting puerile prejudice".

Jason Collins, who was the NBA's first openly gay active player, also took aim at Stoudemire.

Collins also mocked the fact that Stoudemire had just been award the Martin Luther King Jr Award, which claims to be awarded to individuals who "embody the spirit and ideals of Dr King's through their efforts to promote diversity and tolerance".

This isn't the first time Stoudemire, who retired from the NBA after the 2015-16 season, has exhibited homophobic tendencies.

In 2012, the 34-year-old was fined $50,000 after tweeting a gay slur to a fellow Twitter user.

At the time, Stoudemire released a statement, saying: "I am a huge supporter of civil rights for all people. I am disappointed in myself for my statement to a fan. I should have known better and there is no excuse."

Stoudemire is yet to release a statement following his latest comments.

- news.com.au

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