I think I've mentioned it on this site before, but I'm spending this summer teaching tennis at a day camp here in Jersey (which sort of explains the poor quality and quantity of my posts these days). Anyway, during a camp meeting this morning, I noticed an unusually tall black guy amongst the camp directors which, if you've seen my camp's directors, is hard to miss. Sure enough, it was John Starks. John was introduced to thunderous applause from the staff and utter wilderment from the kids. He gave a little speech about teamwork and friendship or some shit...and then the real fun began. Starks was enlisted to guest referee in a camper basketball game, and I was sitting courtside the whole time. What's that? You want some bullet points recapping the experiences? Alright...if I must.
- First off, Starks is in amazing shape. He's 42 but still looks like he could play serious ball if he wanted to. He did, however, decline several requests that he dunk for us.
- I mentioned that Starks was guest refereeing the game. Well, he didn't do a very good job of it. He swallowed his whistle for the entire first half, talking on his cell (phoning in bets?) and sipping water during game action. Later on he made some calls and taught the kids a thing or two about the rules.
- It's hard to conduct a proper tipoff when the thrower is significantly taller than the tippers.
- Starks seemed completely unfazed by what was a pretty entertainingly blooperous (word I just made up) game. He didn't even bat an eyelash when a particularly overzealous 14 year-old bricked a dunk attempt.
- Starks turned down our request that he recreate "The Dunk" with one of our taller staff members playing the role of Horace Grant. I even volunteered to do the Marv Albert call.
- I did get a chance to shake John's hand and tell him it was nice to meet him (as well as heckle a few non-calls), but I neglected to mention P&T to him. Rookie mistake.
- Starks signed a number of things for kids, and he seems to be the general go-to guy for occasions like this. Do you think his autograph is worth anything more than the paper and ink these days?
- Funny that a guy who famously headbutted Reggie Miller and flipped off the entire city of Miami would be a role model for little kids. Just a thought.