The post-career pose

Am at MSG for the Wizards-Knicks game. Was standing by the court a few minutes ago, watching John Starks. The one-time New York star works for the team in community outreach. He still looks really young, and is insanely approachable.

In the, oh, 10 minutes I spent standing there, Starks must have posed for four of five photos at midcourt. Which means he surely poses for hundreds of annual photographs.

I’m by no means ripping Starks, or sports fans, or photographs. But I wonder if ex-athletes ever get resentful, being treated (somewhat) as cardboard cutouts. Nobody asks to pose with me or you, and that’s a good thing, I think.

Nobody wants to be forgotten. But if we’re never remembered to begin with, it works out quite well, too.

PS: Boneheaded moment of the night—think I called Shawne Williams “Erik” by mistake. Thinking old-school NBA. If I did, he didn’t correct me.

2 thoughts on “The post-career pose”

  1. I guess that it depends on how long an athlete has been away from the spotlight.

    John Starks hasn’t played pro hoops in more than a decade, so I am sure that when someone goes up to him and asks for a pic and talks about how great he was, he probably digs it.

    An athlete that is still playing today or in the stratosphere of Michael Jordan probably hates it because it happens to them all the time.

    In 1987 when I was 13-years-old, I met Rawley Eastwick (RP for the big Red Machine). He lived down the street from me and invited me and a buddy into his home and we talked baseball.

    If this was 1977, he may have told me to get lost. But when I met him, he was living in a small Massachusetts town and was probably pumped that someone remembered him.

  2. Maybe he isn’t jaded.
    Maybe he really likes people and appreciates the support the fans gave him in his Knick career.
    If I remember correctly, John Starks was Kurt Warner before Kurt Warner.
    He was bagging groceries and playing in leagues like the CBA and USBL to make ends meet before he made it to the NBA with Golden State. He then landed with the Knicks, had an above average career on a good Knicks team. NY fans never forget hardworking players.
    John Starks fits that mold.

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