|Date of Birth
|Place of Birth
||Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
John Starks is an American retired professional basketball shooting guard. Starks was listed at 6'5" and 190 pounds during his NBA playing career. Although he was not drafted in the 1988 NBA Draft after attending four colleges in his native Oklahoma, including Oklahoma State University, he gained fame while playing for the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association in the 1990s.
Although he was passed over in the draft, Starks signed with the Golden State Warriors in September 1988 as a free agent. He was cut a year later, but worked his way back into the NBA after stints in the Continental Basketball Association (Cedar Rapids Silver Bullets, 1989–90) and World Basketball League (Memphis Rockers, 1990–91). In 1990, he tried out for the New York Knicks. In one practice, he tried to dunk on Knicks center Patrick Ewing. Ewing threw him down and Starks twisted his knee. The team was not allowed to release him unless it healed by the end of December. When it did not heal by that time, the Knicks could not release him. As a result, Starks has referred to Ewing as his saving grace. He eventually became the starting shooting guard, becoming a key player on the team and playing 8 seasons in New York from 1990–98. Starks was a poster child for their physical play during that era, along with teammates Anthony Mason and Charles Oakley. He was a participant in the 1992 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. Starks was at the center of one of the most famous plays in Knicks history, which has now become known simply as "The Dunk". In Game 2 of the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals against the Chicago Bulls, Starks was in the right corner of the court being closely guarded by B.J. Armstrong. Ewing came to set a screen for Starks, who faked to the left like he was going to use the pick, and then drove along the baseline and dunked over Michael Jordan and Horace Grant with his left hand.
After his stint with Golden State, Starks played for the Bulls and Utah Jazz before failing to make an NBA team in 2002 and retiring with 10,829 career points. He currently works for the Knicks as an alumnus and fan development official, and as a pre-and-post-game analyst on MSG Network’s home Knicks game coverage. He has also served as the head coach of the Maulers, a Slamball team. His autobiography, John Starks: My Life was published in 2004. Starks is part owner and marketer for the Ektio basketball shoe, which doctor and former college basketball player Barry Katz designed to reduce ankle injuries.