Rising star Stoudemire is enjoying fame's benefits
Posted: Friday September 9, 2005 4:24PM; Updated: Friday September 9, 2005 4:24PM
Amare Stoudemire dunks the ball during his motion capture session for Sony's NBA '06 PlayStation 2 game.
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Amare Stoudemire is standing in the center of a room filled with toy guns, football helmets, baseball gloves, hockey sticks and enough basketball shoes to make a Foot Locker. Usually, the sight of all this gear hanging from every inch of a closet-sized space would be enough of an attention grabber. As it is, the man in the middle of it all is struggling to get his 6-10, 245-pound frame into a black body suit. When he finishes, Stoudemire looks like he's about to go scuba diving as he tugs on his neck line, trying to get some air. "This thing is real tight," he says. "And real hot too."
Stoudemire is going through this for a motion capture session at the Sony Computer Entertainment studios in San Diego for his new video game, NBA '06, which will be released next month. While the other toys in the room were used for past motion capture sessions on games such as SOCOM: US Navy SEALs, MLB '06 and Gretzky NHL '06, Stoudemire doesn't need any accessories when he's all suited up. "Being on the cover of a video game is big," Stoudemire says. "It's like being on the cover of a magazine. You're in elite company. I remember growing up, the guy on the cover was the one that you wanted to play with and now I'm that guy."
Before hitting the makeshift court, set up in the center of the warehouse-sized studio, Stoudemire stands still while dozens of small reflective balls or "markers" are attached to his body suit -- from the top of the black skull cap he's wearing to the heels of his size-17 Jordans. With more than 40 cameras situated around the court to capture his every move, the motion capture team, comprised of three men sitting in front of their respective computers, is able to get an accurate reproduction of how Stoudemire does what he does best.
The markers outlining his body record each move on the computer screens. Like a movie producer, the man behind the first computer raises his hand and says, "Action!" and Stoudemire showcases his moves, from a sweet mid-range jumper, to a monstrous tomahawk jam that nearly knocks over the basket and few pricey cameras in the process. "The graphics in these games are crazy now," Stoudemire says. "I used to play Bulls versus Blazers on Sega Genesis when I was growing up, but now the games are so realistic and now you can see know why."
After leading the Suns to a league-best 62-20 record and into the Western Conference Finals where he averaged 37 points and nine rebounds per game last season, Stoudemire has enjoyed the perks of being one of the NBA's newest stars this offseason. His schedule has included everything from posing for magazine covers to getting a lap dance from Destiny's Child at a recent concert in Phoenix. "There's a lot of things coming my way because of the success that I've had," says Stoudemire. "But I always knew I was going to be successful because I worked so hard at it, so whatever opportunities come my way I try to take advantage of them."