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John had three daughters with his wife Jackie, whom he married in December 1986.
John Starks played college basketball for a number of schools including Rogers State and Oklahoma State.
After high school, he enrolled at Rogers State College in 1984. While at Rogers State, Starks was on the "taxi squad" of the basketball team for backups to replace injured or suspended players; taxi squad players did not suit up and instead watched games from the stands. However, Starks was expelled from Rogers State for stealing another student's stereo equipment in retaliation for the student breaking into Starks' dorm room and the college holding him and his roommates financially responsible for the damage. Starks transferred to Northern Oklahoma College in spring 1985, made the basketball team there, and was sentenced to five days in jail for the robbery. He served the sentence during spring break. In the fall of 1985, Starks averaged 11 points per game with Northern Oklahoma but left the college after being caught smoking cannabis in his dorm. Having worked at a Safeway supermarket, Starks enrolled at Tulsa Junior College in the summer of 1986 to pursue a business degree. While playing intramural basketball, he came to the attention of Ken Trickey, the former coach of Oral Roberts University who was then starting a basketball program for Oklahoma Junior College. Starks played there for a season, then earned a scholarship at Oklahoma State University in 1988, where he finished his collegiate career.
On December 13, 1986, John Starks married his wife Jackie. Their son, John Jr., was born in 1987, and they have two daughters, Chelsea and Tiara Starks.
Although he was passed over in the 1988 NBA draft, Starks signed with the Golden State Warriors in September 1988 as a free agent. However, as the Warriors had drafted fellow shooting guard Mitch Richmond with the fifth overall pick that year, Starks played limited minutes in only 36 games while Richmond won Rookie of the Year. Starks was injured at the end of the season, and therefore had to play in the NBA's official minor league system, the CBA.
In 1990, Starks 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. Starks 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 posterchild 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.
One of the low points of Starks' career came in the 1994 NBA Finals against the Houston Rockets. In the closing seconds of Game 3 and the Knicks trailing by 3, Starks was fouled by Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon while attempting a 3. At the time, the NBA allowed only 2 free throws during a foul on a 3-pointer. Starks made both, but Houston won 93–89 (the league would change the rule to allow 3 free throws the next season). Starks and the Knicks then watched their home court host the New York Rangers' first Stanley Cup celebration in 54 years, with their 3–2 win over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals. It served as an inspiration for the Knicks to recover to take a 3–2 series lead going into Game 6. However, in the final seconds of Game 6, Olajuwon blocked Starks' last-second 3-point attempt to give Houston an 86–84 victory. In Game 7, Starks had one of the worst games of his career, shooting 2-for-18 from the field, including 1-for-10 in the fourth quarter. The Rockets went on to win the game and the championship.
In 1995, Pat Riley left the Knicks to go to the Miami Heat after a dispute with then General Manager Dave Checketts. The Knicks hired Don Nelson, bringing back the tensions from Stark's first season in Golden State. Nelson started Hubert Davis over Starks. Nelson was eventually fired mid-season, and the Knicks replaced him with Jeff Van Gundy. In 1996 Allan Houston took Starks' starting spot. Starks was a steady contributor off the bench and won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award in 1997.
On February 18, 1997, Starks hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to defeat the Phoenix Suns at home 95–94. On the play, he rebounded an Allan Houston missed three while getting to the three-point line and head-faked the Suns Wesley Person before releasing the shot just as the horn sounded. Replays were inconclusive as to whether the shot was released in time, but the basket stood. This may have been the most dramatic regular season moment of Starks' career, as it was his only buzzer beater to win an NBA game.
In January 1999, Starks was traded back to his original team, the Golden State Warriors. Starks was traded along with Chris Mills and Terry Cummings in exchange for Latrell Sprewell. Starks remained with the Warriors until February 2000, when he was traded to the Chicago Bulls as part of a three-team trade.
In May 2001, Starks underwent surgery to remove a twisted testicle.
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. He was head coach of the Westchester Wildfire during the 2003 United States Basketball League season. His autobiography, John Starks: My Life, was published in 2004.
Currently, John Starks is 55 years old. John Starks will celebrate 56th birthday on Tuesday, August 10, 2021. Below we countdown to John Starks upcoming birthday.
John Starks turned 50 today; bet he can’t do this anymore
It came from the unlikeliest guy at the unlikeliest time over the unlikeliest players.
Happy Birthday John Starks
Today, August 10th, marks the 46th birthday of New York Knick legend John Starks. Starks was a fan-favorite at Madison Square Garden for his incredible lea...
Happy Birthday John Starks
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