John Starks

John Starks Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

John Starks, whose path to the NBA was a difficult one, is heading to Long Island to share his story and inspire children.

Starks, who played for the New York Knicks from 1990 to 1998, will be speaking about his journey and the consequences of violence and gang activity at a Nassau County Police Activity League event on Saturday in Hicksville. 

“The message is anti-gang, anti-violence, anti-drugs from a prominent sports figure that has been through a lot in his background,” says Chris Innace, the Nassau County PAL police officer director. “John has a very good story to tell, and we want to engage the community and our PAL children about some of the dangers out there.”

Starks overcame a troubled youth in Oklahoma and attended four junior colleges in four years before landing at Oklahoma State. After going undrafted, he went on to have a 13-year career in the NBA, averaging 12.5 points per game. Starks, who during the 1993-1994 season was an All-Star and helped lead the Knicks to the NBA Finals, is now the team’s alumni relations and fan development adviser and runs the John Starks Foundation, which awards academic scholarships. 

“He’s going to be telling that story from his background and his perspective as a preventive message,” Innace says. “I think it’s a great inspiration, especially for kids that are playing in sports recreationally or who want to play in high school or college or even past that. The lessons and the points that John Starks makes should resonate with the children.”

The free event, which begins at 5:30 p.m., will be held at the Hicksville Athletic Center. With limited space available, those interested in attending must RSVP by sending an email to


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