My Favorite Mistake: Amar'e Stoudemire
Stern, Marlow, Newsweek
Byline: Amar'e Stoudemire
On skipping college to go pro.
Providing for my mother was one of the main reasons I jumped from high school to the NBA. My father passed away when I was 12, so my mother was pretty much on her own raising us and trying to make ends meet. Since she was in and out of jail for various things, I had to make some big decisions as a youth, which included going to six different high schools. My family didn't have any money, and when some schools promised to provide meals for me and it didn't happen, I was forced to transfer. Because of all the transferring, I missed my junior year of high school, and since I started playing organized basketball at age 14--I was concentrating on football before then--I played for only about three and a half years before going pro.
My favorite mistake was going to the NBA straight out of high school. It's my favorite because I was able to accomplish my dream, but I very much wanted to go to college and pursue an education.
I'd committed to the University of Memphis out of high school and was collaborating with two other NBA prospects, Dajuan Wagner and Qyntel Woods--who had also both committed to Memphis--to team up there and win a national championship together. But I believed I was ready for the NBA. I had trained very hard and was one of the top players in the country, ranking alongside my Knicks teammates Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton. I ended up being drafted by the Phoenix Suns in 2002.
Despite missing out on college, I've taken summer courses at Arizona State University and the University of Miami, and my favorite course was human geography. …