John Starks, one of the most well-known Knicks of all-time, hosted his second Annual Charity Bowl at Lucky Strike Lanes in New York City on Tuesday night.
For an event aimed at raising money for college scholarships for graduating high school students in need (something the John Starks Foundation, currently in its 17th year, does year-round), the bowling alley housed a packed collection of fans and supporters, as well as a few of Starks' former teammates and competitors.
The same intensity and dedication that Starks displayed during his playing days as a Knick donning orange and blue is the same that makes so many people come out and support him and the entire foundation’s staff as they work to provide a different type of assist, this time to deserving students.
The foundation has helped a multitude of students achieve a college education, awarding over 200 scholarships.
Aside from contributing to a great cause, attendees were welcomed to share a game of pool with another Knicks fan favorite (and current assistant GM), Allan Houston, or test their bowling skills against the likes of NBA veterans Scott Burrell and Cliff Robinson.
Just how loyal were the Knicks fans in attendance?
The presence of Atlanta Hawks teammates Etan Thomas and Maurice Evans (whom the Knicks defeated on Wednesday at the Garden) was announced to some playful boos, of course before both were openly welcomed and embraced by all.
The foundation’s executive director, Jennifer Alpert, joked, “We have to get who we can!”
Of course, the foundation was nevertheless showered with support throughout the night: Besides Houston, Burrell, and Robinson, those also in attendance included, Knicks assistant coach and Starks' former teammate Herb Williams, team owner James Dolan, broadcaster Jill Martin, as well as New York Giant Justin Tuck and former New York Mets closer John Franco.
Charles Smith, another former Knicks’ teammate of Starks, expressed how important contributing to the cause really was, saying, “John’s had his non-profit [foundation] since we played. He’s helped out a lot of children and families, and the events are always nice and so well put together—how can you not come out and show support?”
Aside from being a starting forward for the Knicks during much of his four seasons in New York (1992-96) Smith, along with Starks, helped the team reach the NBA Finals in 1994. He went on to play nine NBA seasons.
Boasting a bowling game that he says evens out around a score of 150, Smith took time from movin’ and groovin’ (his exhibited dance moves just may rival his bowling skills) to talk about what he’s been up to since his playing days.
Proclaiming himself “a bridge and tunnel guy,” the former Knick is enjoying retirement while residing in New Jersey and going for his M.B.A. at Seton Hall.
Smith has also served as the executive director of the National Basketball Retired Players Association, saying, “The Association is there to help players with the transition after the game, help them with revenue opportunities and do a lot of charity events, as well. “
Overall, Smith enthusiastically said he’s enjoying retirement while staying in the New York area and raising his four sons.
Also making an appearance at the event was current Knick Ronny Turiaf, who also conveyed the importance of showing support for the good cause.
It was clear that the event was well represented (in addition to well-received) by so many people.
After the night was all said and done, how did the event’s host think it went? Starks told ESPN New York’s Jared Zwerling, “It's just about having fun, raising a lot of money for a lot of needy kids and, as you can see, everybody had a great time.”
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