Amare Stoudemire: Motivating Teens With Boost

With a career average of 21 points, 9 rebounds and

1.5 blocks per game, Amare Stoudemire of the Phoenix Suns doesn't need to do

too much talking on the court. Off the court, it’s a different story.

The 25-year-old superstar has recently teamed up

with the Ad Council and the U.S. Army to help promote the "Boost"

campaign and encourage teens to stay in school. Amare has recorded a set of

ringtones and messages to help motivate teens to get their a**es out of bed in

the morning.

We caught up with Amare to talk about the campaign

as well as to talk a little hoops. First of all congrats on your

season. Do you think this has been the best year for you personally?

Amare Stoudemire: I think so. I just try to

improve every summer. Every year I just try to come with something new. So this

year definitely has been one of the better years for me. With everybody focusing their MVP

talks on Chris Paul and Kobe, do you feel your name should be up there too?

Amare: Those two are playing for the top teams in

the Western Conference. And the best teams normally have the best players.

That's pretty much how it works. With the addition of Shaq, how do

you like your chances coming into the postseason?

Amare: Yep, I think with Shaq, he definitely helps

out. Defensively we got that presence out in the post. Offensively, he's going

to dominate inside. So, he is definitely going to help out a lot in the

postseason. It's looking like you guys might

see San Antonio in the first round. With what happened last year and the Bruce

Bowen incident last week, does that add any extra fire for you?

Amare: We're not really talking about Bruce Bowen

because San Antonio as a team - you have to get through San Antonio to win a

championship. Let’s switch gears to your charity

work. Tell us a little about Boost.

Amare: Well, the Boost Up Campaign is for high

school dropouts. We're trying to prevent kids from dropping out of school, so

what I do is create ringtones and wake up calls so kids stay in school. The

fact is, that you've got 1,200 kids that are dropping out of high school daily,

so we're trying to change that. What do you try to say in those pre-recordings?

Amare: Well you got to log on to or to really tune in to the ringtones and the wake up calls. As a kid did you struggle with

motivation to go to class?

Amare: Yeah, there are those times you want to

sleep in that extra hour or so. I'm pretty sure everybody in the world wants to

sleep in, but they have good self-discipline to want to get up. A lot of kids

don't have that motivation to get up and go because they think school is not

fun. So we want to let them know school is fun - and they have to understand how

important education is, because if you have education it helps you through a

lot of situations. Were your struggles growing up your

motivation behind wanting to give back and help kids?

Amare: Absolutely. I think that's my main motivation.

A lot of people don't understand what these kids go through. I know how they

feel. I know how they think. I know what they want, so my job is to give them

what they want - teach them the right moves, the right ways to be successful.