Amar’e Stoudemire stood before the open coffin, head bowed, eyes hidden behind sunglasses. Reaching in, he touched his brother’s body, holding his hand for several quiet seconds.
Friends and family say they had not seen Stoudemire cry since he was 12, when his father, Hazell Stoudemire Sr., died of a heart attack. But later Saturday at the First Baptist Church of Lake Wales, Amar’e Stoudemire stood before his brother’s coffin and about 1,000 people, including nine members of the Knicks organization, bowed his head again, and wept.
“That was my big brother,” Stoudemire told the gathering, pausing between words muffled with tears. “He kept me off the streets. He was like my guardian angel.”