Knicks legend John Starks visits Bensonhurst

October 4, 2011 Denise Romano
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Wednesday afternoon at Shallow Junior High School was a slamdunk.

It was on that day, September 28, that Knicks legend John Starksand pro Troy Bowers led a basketball clinic for 75 excited Shallowstudents. The day was made possible by the NIA Community ServicesNetwork and State Senator Marty Golden.

This is about bringing awareness to kids about respecting eachother, what good foods to eat, teamwork and how to work with eachother, Golden explained. It’s about life and how to stay ontrack. We are giving kids all a flavor of what really goes on inthe world- plus they get to meet John Starks.

At the clinic, students did basic warm-ups such as holding bothhands above their head and jumping back and forth in short hops,learning how to dribble properly and take shots as popular musicboomed through a sound system.

Mary Anne Cino, NIA’s executive director, explained that herorganization has been hosting an out of school time at Shallowfor the past 15 years. In this free program, students meet everyday after school and also on holidays – even if the school isclosed — from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Besides receiving help with theirstudies, they are exposed to things they normally would not be,such as trips to museums and other cultural institutions andvolunteering at animal shelters.

We are very excited to bring enhancement to our program, Cinosaid, noting that some of the students present are on a travelingbasketball team. It’s all about exposing kids to things thatotherwise they may not be a part of. Bringing something special forthem is what we do. We are always planning enrichment activitiesthat complement academics.

Golden gave students a pep talk before the clinic kicked-off,advising them on how to be successful. Practice makes perfect.Don’t get into bad habits and don’t give up, he told the crowd,who could barely keep still with anticipation. If you want to dosomething, whether it be basketball, football or whatever, you haveto eat, sleep and breathe it. Believe in yourself.

Students were given official Knicks merchandise – including at-shirt autographed by Starks.

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