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Amare Stoudemire’s Smashed Hand Recalls 1984 Tom Petty Incident

Amare Stoudemire / Tom Petty
Chris Chambers / Ethan Miller, Getty Images

If there’s one rocker who can relate to how Amare Stoudemire feels right about now, it’s Tom Petty. The basketball star injured himself by smashing his hand against a glass door holding a fire extinguisher in frustration following a playoff loss Monday night (April 30), echoing a similar incident from Petty’s past.

In October of 1984, during what’s been described as long, arduous recording sessions for ‘Southern Accents,’ his sixth album with the Heartbreakers, Petty’s emotions got the better of him and he punched a wall, severely breaking his left hand. As he told Ultimate Guitar a year later while showing off his scars: “I wasn’t trying to cripple myself. I just backhanded a wall, but I hit it wrong.”

Fortunately, after four hours of surgery, which included two pins being inserted into his arm, and months of therapy, Petty was able to resume playing guitar. As scary as the event must have been at the time, in retrospect he feels some good things came out of it: “Breaking my hand was unfortunate, but I think that improved the album quite a bit. It made me really sit back and take stock of it a little bit longer. I was too deep into the album; my perspective was hurting.”

Petty and the Heartbreakers were able to complete and release ‘Southern Accents’ in early 1985, and the record found them breaking new ground by incorporating drum machines and horns into their music for the first time. The album’s first single, ‘Don’t Come Around Here No More,’ went on to become one of the group’s biggest hits.

Let’s hope something similarly good comes out of Stoudemire’s momentary loss of control in the long term. In the short term, it appears his season is finished and that the rest of his New York Knicks teammates aren’t all that far behind him. They currently trail the Miami Heat 0-2 in their best-of-seven playoff series.

Watch Tom Petty Talk About His 1984 Hand Injury ( Starts at 10:00)

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