Saturday, February 9, 2008
Daily SAll-Star: John Starks
Quick: Who is the greatest basketball player of all time? If you said Michael Jordan, I agree with you (although one could make an excellent case for Bill Russell or Wilt the Sex Machine).
Now, even quicker: Who was responsible for guarding the Greatest Basketball Player of All Time approximately 274 games per season during the 1990's?
That's right, it was John Starks of the New York Knicks! What a splendid guess!
John Starks had one of the most bizarre rises to fame in the NBA; his entire career was a backhanded compliment. As a young man, Starks bagged groceries whilst searching for playing opportunities at various Oklahoma community colleges. He eventually finished his career in Division I at Oklahoma State.
Upon graduating from OSU, Starks declared for the NBA Draft, but nobody cared.
He spent two years bouncing around the Canadian Basketball Association and World Basketball League before trying out with the Knicks and getting spinebustered by Patrick Ewing in practice, an event that would come to be known by one person as The Ultimate Backdoor Contract.
Starks had just joined the Knicks and was trying to get a contract when he decided that he should throw his bony 80-pound ass at the rim and attempt to dunk on The Big Jamaican himself, Patrick Ewing. Ewing took offense to this and proceeded to chokeslam Starks down to the cold, hard floor. The play injured Starks' knee, prohibiting the Knicks from releasing him unless it was healed by December. It didn't heal, and the Knicks had to keep him. Eventually, Starks recovered, found his way onto the court, replaced Gerald Wilkins at shooting guard, and the rest is history.