They may not have a lot of championship trophies inside their cabinet, but the New York Knicks housed a wide array of Hall of Famers and remarkable stars. John Starks is definitely one of them, but the man himself didn’t let his ego make him believe that his tier on the hierarchy of the Knicks’ all-time greats is right there at the crest of the pyramid.
After an underwhelming NBA debut season in 1988-89, Starks had to fight his way back into the league and earn his spot on the Knicks roster. In 1990, New York gave Starks a shot, but it took a while before he finally made great strides. Despite the stiff competition, Starks managed to stand out and ultimately became an All-Star player in his fourth season with the Knicks.
Every die-hard Knicks fan knows Starks has a place on the list of the greatest players ever to represent the Mecca of basketball. However, the man in question was humble enough not to put himself over other Knicks legends that also left their mark on the storied franchise.
“Well, I would come off the bench, because there are so many great players in Knicks history,” Starks told HoopsHype when asked to name his all-time Knicks starting five. “I’d choose obviously Clyde [Walt Frazier], Earl [Monroe], Bernard King, Patrick [Ewing]… And I would have to put my man Oak [Charles Oakley] in there.”
A compliment from Big Pat
While Starks’ case for making the Knicks’ all-time starting five seems debatable, we can all agree that Patrick Ewing had already cemented his place on that list. And if we are to ask “Big Pat,” Starks may not have broken into the Knicks’ all-time Top 5, but he’s definitely No. 1 on Ewing’s list of best teammates.
“John Starks because I loved his toughness,” Ewing once declared. “He worked for everything that he got. He played with a chip on his shoulder. He was a good athlete, a streaky shooter, but when you go to war, that is the kind of dude you want in your foxhole.”
Could it be that Starks was a few inches shorter than an average shooting guard during his time? Or was it also a factor that he reached the pinnacle of his career in the Michael Jordan era? Regardless of how we slice it, the undeniable matter is that Starks, in the eyes of the Knicks faithful, is a legend. No ifs, no buts.