This is the sixth in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of examinations into different games, events and decisions that impacted Knicks history in some way, shape or form. Stories that are not as famous as, say, “The Dunk” or Willis Reed playing Game 7, but still have a place in Knicks history, especially for die-hard fans.
John Starks was one of the most popular Knicks of the 1990s and he perhaps was also the Knick with the most interesting mythology surrounding his life and career. For instance, we all know by heart the story of how Starks, playing on a non-guaranteed contract and feeling (most likely correctly) that he was about to be cut, tried to wow everyone by dunking on Patrick Ewing during the last game of the Knicks’ 1990 training camp. Ewing, of course, easily swatted him to the ground, injuring Starks’ knee. The injured Starks was not allowed to be cut until healthy, and by the time his knee was healthy, Trent Tucker had gotten hurt so the Knicks now did need a back-up guard, and the rest was history. That is just one small piece of the Starks mythology, which also includes the story of how he was working as a bagger at a grocery store at one point before going back to college. This story, however, is about Starks’ trademark fiery nature, which he never was quite able to control. Sometimes it would hurt the Knicks (like when he got ejected for head-butting Reggie Miller in the 1993 playoffs), but today we look at a incident Starks was involved in that, in a roundabout way, ended up helping the Knicks.