WESTFIELD, NJ – Two New York Knicks legends – John Starks and Larry Johnson – teamed up with former basketball stars Terry Dehere and street ball legend Jack “Black Jack” Ryan in the “Hoops and Dreams” charity basketball game Saturday at Holy Trinity School.
Team Johnson pulled off an 86-85 victory over Team Starks in a game that was decided by the last possession. Down 14 points at the half, Dehere, Seton Hall University’s all-time leading scorer fueled the comeback in the second half.
“John and I talk about (these charity events) all the time,” said Johnson, the former first-pick overall and two-time NBA All-Star. “At this point in our careers, this is what it’s about. We’ve had our way and played our ball. Now it’s time for our youngsters to see that we’re still active, but the active part is giving back. It’s all about giving back.”
Following the game, Johnson boasted that he leads his former teammate in the all-time series.
“It’s always important to give back,” said Starks. “Whenever you can lend your time to give a child an opportunity, you should do it.”
Starks, whose biggest moment of his Knicks’ career was winning Game 6 over the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals to advance to the NBA Championship in 1994 had some great advice for the kids and sticking to their goals.
“Make sure you put the effort into what you’re trying to do,” Starks suggested. “All that said, you get out of it what you put into it and if you don’t put any work into you’re not going to get anything out of it. Work very hard and commit themselves and believe in what they’re doing. Don’t let anyone deter them from their goal.”
Prior to tipoff, Ryan, one of the greatest playground ballers of all time according to Slam Magazine, put on a fundamental clinic for the kids at center court. The three-time Guinness World Record holder showcased his ball handling skills and demonstrated first-hand how to balance multiple spinning basketballs at the same time.
“This is one of those things that you’re not going to forget anytime soon because it was for a such a good cause and it was a great game,” said Ryan. “At the end of the day, everybody’s happy and it feels great to help out.”
“It was a lot of fun and Mr. Johnson’s a great coach,” said Tim Dursee of Scotch Plains. “The school spirit and the community here is just unbelievable. It really shows here at events like this with the kids and parents.”
Father Anthony Randazzo, parochial assistant of The Catholic Church of Holy Trinity was thankful of the stars’ commitment of their time.
“You have people of generous heart that are willing to give their time to foster a community’s attempt at a faith based education and that these are good people who really want the best for young people to grow,” said Randazzo, who played in the game.
"The combination between sport and faith is a very good combination. The more we collaborate and the more that we work together to the community, the better off we all are together.”
Although this is Randazzo’s first year with Holy Trinity, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, the centennial means a lot to him and the organization.
“The 100th anniversary means that there has been continuity in educating children in the spirit of Christ and in his teachings for community for compassion, for a way of living with values in a very complex society,” said Randazzo. “When you take the best of academics and the best of a Judeo-Christian tradition and you merge them together; that’s what 100 years means.”
Holy Trinity School is a faith-based community with a mission of educating students from two years old through 8th grade to actualize their full, individual potential, both spiritually and academically, while adhering to the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church. Students are given the start they need to become responsible members of their families, high schools, churches, and communities in an ever-changing world.
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