Former New York Knicks guard John Starks regularly played in front of sold-out crowds during his NBA days, and another packed house of more than 150 residents and media greeted him when he came to visit the Baldwin Public Library on July 23.
The Oklahoma-born star’s visit to the BPL community room was part of the Knicks’ Read to Achieve program, and Starks discussed the importance of reading before joining Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray and several young Baldwin volunteers in reading “Hoop Genius,” by John Coy — a book about the invention of basketball.
Starks, who now works as a fan development adviser for Knicks Alumni Relations, pointed out in his remarks that continuing to read during the summer is especially important for young people, who, he said, can lose up to half a grade level of literacy during the summer months.
Targeted at children between ages 6 and 12, the NBA’s summer reading events take place at participating libraries and community organizations throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. They encourage literacy through the distribution of free books and T-shirts as well as live readings with sports stars.