Skip to main content

John Starks reveals he almost recreated ‘The Dunk’: "The hops weren’t there"

New York Knicks legend John Starks detailed how he almost repeated the iconic dunk he did on Michael Jordan and the Bulls against the Indiana Pacers.
John Starks nearly redid The Dunk on Michael Jordan

John Starks, Michael Jordan

Over the years, the Knicks have housed a wide array of all-time greats and each one of them has had their fair share of historic moments at the Garden. Legends like Bernard King, “Clyde” Frazier, and Patrick Ewing often top the list in that category but John Starks will always have a special place in the hearts of the Knickerbockers faithful.

How “The Dunk” happened

During the 1992-93 NBA season, the Knicks were the most dominant team in the East, having finished the campaign at the top seed. However, many still viewed them as underdogs when they finally crossed paths with the then-two-time defending champions Chicago Bulls in the conference finals.

In Game 2 of the series, Starks, who recorded his best-scoring tally in the regular season at the time with 17.5 points per game, made his mark in the Garden.

With just 50 seconds remaining in the close game, Starks ran the ball from court to court and drove straight to the right wing, off the screen from Ewing. He then leaped from the baseline and threw a stunning left-handed slam against a couple of Bulls, including Michael Jordan.

The highlight-worthy dunk went on to become known in the NBA simply as “The Dunk.”

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Starks almost did it again

The fact that the Knicks won the first two games of the series against the Bulls certainly added some flair to "The Dunk.” However, New York eventually succumbed to the Bulls’ dominance and lost the four games in a row.

The following season, Jordan was out of the picture and the Knicks made it to the East finals once again. This time around, they faced their conference nemesis Indiana Pacers.

As expected, both teams played physical basketball throughout the series which reached Game 7. At the time, Knicks fans may have forgotten about Starks’ epic dunk on the Bulls for a minute as they were more concerned about making it to the Finals. However, after two-and-a-half decades, Starks revealed that he almost repeated “The Dunk” on the Pacers at one point during that game.

“Game 7 against the Indiana Pacers. The game was on the line and I was just coming off knee surgery and I remember I had a pick and roll with me and Patrick [Ewing]. In my mind I’m trying to recreate ‘The Dunk’ again, I was seeing the same thing happening,” Starks recalled in an interview in 2019 via Metro.

“I went up and the hops weren’t there! I went up against Dale Davis. I was going to go up left and I had to change it and all I could do was get it up off the board and I missed the shot,” he recalled. “Here comes Patrick, out of nowhere, to save me and dunk it back in." 

The Knicks may have not won a championship during their glory days in the 90s but at least Starks gave New York fans a great memory to look back on.

Damian Lillard believes Seattle deserves an NBA team

Damian Lillard makes a strong pitch for the NBA to return to Seattle -“They definitely need a team here”

With fans flocking to watch Lillard and the Trail Blazers open their preseason action, Lillard said he believed it was time for the NBA top make its return to Seattle

Mike Malone believes Jamal Murray is back on track for the Denver Nuggets

“I’m excited to go prove myself again.” - Jamal Murray’s return will further the Denver Nuggets’ title ambitions

Jamal Murray is just happy to be back from injury, reiterates desire to prove himself again

North Carolina Tar Heels guard Michael Jordan vs. Indiana Hoosiers guard Dan Dakich

"Here’s what happened with that" — Dan Dakich on the story that he vomited after learning Michael Jordan was his assignment

Dan Dakich spills the real reason why he vomited before he faced Michael Jordan and North Carolina.

Miami Heat small forward LeBron James works the baseline against New Jersey Nets shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson

“We was both making a fool of ourselves” — Why DeShawn Stevenson apologized for beefing with LeBron James

Unlike most players, Stevenson evolved to see the bigger picture, and apologized to LeBron.