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January 1, 2003
The Suns selected Amar
The only high school player taken in the draft, Stoudemire was all smiles at his introductory press conference.
Named Mr. Basketball in the state of Florida, Stoudemire averaged 29.1 points, 15 boards and 6.1 blocks his senior season at Cypress Creek High School in Orlando.
In his first taste of NBA basketball, Stoudemire averaged 14.2 points and 6.7 boards during the summer leagues.
Just 19-years-old when the 2002-03 season tipped off, Stoudemire became the youngest player ever to play for the Suns.
Despite his age, he entered the league with a wealth of low post moves.
And his vicious slams had opponents ducking and running from the get-go.
Not surprisingly, Stoudemire quickly earned the respect and appreciation of his new teammates.
And almost immediately became a huge fan favorite in the Valley.
Stoudemire went camping with the boy scouts in one of the Suns' "Every Effort" TV spots that aired early in the season.
Stoudemire opened eyes around the league with his 38 points at Minnesota on Dec. 30, the most ever by an NBA rookie directly out of high school.
As if that wasn't enough, he also grabbed 14 boards in the game.
More than 2,500 nicknames were suggested for Amar
A few of our favorite suggestions: Manster (Half Man, Half Monster), Dunkzilla and The Hulk.
Stoudemire earned the nickname "STAT" (Standing Tall and Talented) in high school and has that name tattoed on his right arm.
Stoudemire was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month in January and March.
Whether in the post or on the bench, Stoudemire's passion was evident.
Stoudemire's dunk on Michael Olowokandi was replayed several times on SportsCenter.
The Suns' rookie posterized a number of the NBA's biggest stars.
He even threw one down on his childhood hero, Shawn Kemp.
Stoudemire pulled down 21 rebounds in a win over Memphis, the most by a Sun since Charles Barkley grabbed 24 in 1993.
Stoudemire's smile was as captivating as his play during his rookie run.
The Suns' youngster went golfing with Ahmad Rashad during an episode of NBA Inside Stuff.
Stoudemire got a chance to strut his stuff in the 'got milk?' Rookie Challenge during All-Star Weekend in Atlanta.
Stoudemire recorded 18 points and seven boards in the rookie-sophomore matchup.
Stoudemire scored 49 out of 50 on his first throwdown in the Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk, but missed his second attempt and failed to advance to the finals.
Former Suns coach, current TNT analyst Danny Ainge called Stoudemire "Bam Bam" after the Flinstone's character during the All-Star Saturday telecast.
Suns coach Frank Johnson said Stoudemire and Stephon Marbury could be the NBA's next Karl Malone and John Stockton.
Stoudemire grabbed 14 boards in the Suns' first "Hardwood Classic" in Milwaukee.
Stoudemire saw regular double-teams during the second half of the season.
In addition to his scoring and rebounding, Stoudemire gives the Suns an imposing defender around the rim.
Sports business observers believe Stoudemire has a wealth of endorsement opportunities ahead of him.
Stoudemire's long arms and athleticism make him difficult to guard anywhere around the basket.
Following the Suns' second retro game on March 24, Stoudemire's throwback uniform was auctioned off on Suns.com for $2,000.
Stoudemire finished the regular season 7th in the league in offensive rebounds and 12th in the league in total rebounds.
Although he seemed to hit a rookie wall at one point, Stoudemire kept his focus and finished the season strong.
Stoudemire had some big competition for the Rooke of the Year award.
Not only did Stoudemire battle Yao Ming for the ROY award, but the Suns fought the Rockets until the last week of the season for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoffs.
Stoudemire averaged 13.5 points and 8.8 rebounds on the year.
Marbury credited Stoudemire for the Suns' return to the playoffs.
Stoudemire looked like a grizzled veteran in his first-ever playoff game.
Not only did he record 24 points and nine boards, but Stoudemire banked in a three-pointer to send Game 1 of the Suns-Spurs series into overtime.
After the Suns wrapped up the win in OT, Stoudemire said his surprising three-pointer felt "natural" for him.
Between playoff games, Stoudemire was presented with the NBA's Rookie of the Year trophy during a press conference at the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Phoenix.
Stoudemire became just the third Rookie of the Year in Suns history, joinining Alvan Adams (pictured) and Walter Davis.
Stoudemire couldn't hide his excitement before Game 3.
The America West Arena crowd gives ROY a standing ovation.
Stoudemire averaged 14.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.67 steals and 1.50 blocks in six playof games.