Although he was passed over in the draft, Starks signed with the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] in September 1988 as a free agent. He was cut a year later, but worked his way back into the NBA after stints in the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] ([Only registered and activated users can see links. ], 198990) and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] ([Only registered and activated users can see links. ], 199091).[Only registered and activated users can see links. ] In 1990, he tried out for the New York Knicks. In one practice, he tried to dunk on Knicks [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. 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. He eventually became the starting shooting guard, becoming a key player on the team and playing 8 seasons in New York from 199098. Starks was a posterchild for their physical play during that era, along with teammates [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. He was a participant in the 1992 [Only registered and activated users can see links. ].
Starks was at the center of one of the most famous plays in Knicks history, which has now become known simply as "The Dunk". In Game 2 of the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals against the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], Starks was in the right corner of the court being closely guarded by [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. Ewing came to set a screen for Starks, who faked to the left like he was going to use the pick, and then drove along the baseline and dunked over [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] with his left hand.[Only registered and activated users can see links. ][Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
One of the low points of Starks' career came in the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] against the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. In the closing seconds of Game 3 and the Knicks trailing by 3, Starks was fouled by Rockets center [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] while attempting a 3. At the time, however, the NBA only allowed 2 free throws during a foul on a 3-pointer. Starks made both, but Houston won 9389 (the league would change the rule to allow 3 free throws the next season). Starks and the Knicks then watched[Only registered and activated users can see links. ] [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] host the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]' [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], with their 32 win over the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] in Game 7 of the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. It served as an inspiration[Only registered and activated users can see links. ] for the Knicks to recover to take a 32 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 8684 victory. In Game 7, Starks had one of the worst games of his career, shooting 2-for-18 from the field, including 0-for-10 in the fourth quarter. The Rockets went on to win the game and the championship, denying New York from having both NBA and NHL championships in the same year.
In 1995, Knicks coach [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] left the Knicks for the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] after a dispute with then-General Manager [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. The Knicks later hired Don Nelson, resurrecting the tensions from Starks' first year with Golden State. But Nelson was fired in the middle of his first season, and replaced with Assistant Coach [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. With the addition of [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] in 1996, Starks became a mentor as Houston took his spot in the starting lineup. Starks continued to be a steady contributor off the bench that season, and in 1997 he received the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. Two years later, Starks was traded back to the Warriors, along with [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], for [Only registered and activated users can see links. ].