Sports fans have a deep respect for the competitors and stars they watch on television or in person. Even when things get heated between them, you’ll never hear anyone call into question their fighting spirit.
But that wasn’t always the case… until John Starks’ mother threatened Patrick Ewing after her son had headbutted Reggie Miller in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series.
John Starks’ Mother Threatening Patrick Ewing When He Berated Her Son for Headbutting Reggie Miller. John Starks, a former NBA player and current broadcaster, was suspended by the league after he headbutted his opponent, Reggie Miller. His mother threatened to go after Patrick Ewing when he berated her son for headbutting his opponent in an interview on TNT.
During the 1993 NBA playoffs, former New York Knicks All-Star player John Starks recalls his mother being unhappy with Patrick Ewing. When the Knicks met Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers in Game 3 of a first-round playoff clash, Starks and Ewing were teammates. Miller enraged Starks, who is most known for headbutting the Pacers’ star. Starks’ mother went after Ewing before Ewing went after Starks.
Headbutting Reggie Miller ‘had to happen,’ according to John Starks.
In the 1993 playoffs, the Knicks led the Pacers 2-0 in the best-of-five first-round series. The Pacers needed to win Game 3 in Indiana or their season would be finished. Miller got under Starks’ skin throughout the game by elbowing him, and the Knicks guard ultimately snapped. Starks was ejected from the game when he headbutted Miller, who admittedly overreacted.
Indiana came up on top, 116-93. The Knicks, on the other hand, won the series in four games.
The headbutt, according to Starks, was something he needed to do.
During an interview with comedian Sam Morril, Starks declared, “That needed to happen.” “It had to happen, no matter what.” He started beating me with ‘bows at that point,’ I recall. I informed the referee that he had struck me with a ‘bow,’ and the referee responded, ‘Starks, shut up and play.’ ‘OK, I can handle this,’ I thought. I was furious after scoring on him and sprinting up the court. I wanted to punch him in the face with my fist.
“You had to strive and gain the respect of the other players in this league back then.” You did not get it. Reggie was one of those guys that didn’t have much regard for you. He’s going to come after you if he doesn’t respect you. He’s going to make a lot of noise. He’ll take care of all the nasty little details.”
After the headbutt, Patrick Ewing exploded at John Starks.
In the second half of the first-round playoffs in 1998, Reggie Miller and John Starks. | Keith Torrie/NY Daily News via Getty Images .
Ewing wasn’t much of a vocal leader at the beginning of his career. With the passage of time, he became more assertive in his leadership position.
Michael Jordan told Sports Illustrated in 1993, “I believe when he got out of college, Patrick was a bit overwhelmed, a little cautious about his surroundings.” “He’s a lovely man, but he’s bashful, and he didn’t want to come out as backward or stupid in interviews.” He only opened out to those with whom he felt at ease, which meant he seldom signed autographs or smiled for the cameras.”
When Ewing reprimanded Starks after the headbutt during the Starks/Miller incident, he displayed remarkable passion. Starks was slammed by Ewing because he harmed the team by being ejected.
Trent Tucker, Ewing’s former teammate, told SI, “That startled me when I watched it on TV.” “While Pat’s natural impulse is to lead by example, there comes a point when a leader must become visible and loud. The team tried for years in New York to get Patrick to do it, but I believe it’s only recently that he’s agreed.”
Ewing did not sit well with Starks’ mother, according to Starks.
Starks was scolded by teammates Charles Oakley and Ewing after the headbutt.
“I remember Oak and Patrick just pounding on me, and I didn’t realize it until after the game and when I watched the tape,” Starks said. They were slamming into me, bam, bam, bam.”
This is when Starks’ mother intervened.
“‘If you ever lay your hands on my kid again…’ said my mother to Patrick.” According to Starks. “If he does it again, Ms. Starks, I’m going to do the same thing,” he replied.
In Game 4, Starks and the Knicks defeated Miller and the Pacers, with Starks scoring 15 points and dishing out five assists. New York proceeded to the conference semifinals, where they were eliminated in five games by the Charlotte Hornets.
Jordan and the Chicago Bulls terminated the Knicks’ season in the Eastern Conference Finals before advancing to the NBA Finals and defeating Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns.
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