Knicks legend talks old rivalry, beginning of new one

Knicks legend talks old rivalry, beginning of new one

Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010
2:20 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

NEW YORKPrior to Saturdays Bulls-Knicks game at Madison Square Garden, CSNChicago.com caught up with Knicks legend John Starksa central figure in the Chicago-New York rivalry of the 1990s and now v\: behavior:url(defaultVML);o\: behavior:url(defaultVML);w\: behavior:url(defaultVML);.shape behavior:url(defaultVML);st1\:behavior:url(defaultieooui) the Knicks' Alumni Relations and Fan Development Adviso--to talk about the new budding rivalry, the Knicks revival, his thoughts on the Bulls potential, his influence on some of Chicagos current players and his memories of that era, including former teammate Kurt Thomas and one of his assistant coaches in New York, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau.
CSNChicago.com: Its not the same as when you guys had the rivalry, but do you see it developing into that type of thing, since both teams are young?
John Starks: If both teams continue to have success, thats the main thing when you try to create rivalries. Both teams have to be on top of their games. Obviously it hasnt been that way for a minutefor usand Chicago, over the last couple of years, has been starting to get it back. As we continue to have that type of success, it will continue to create that type of potential of a good rivalry.
CSNChicago.com: What are your thoughts about the Knicks revival this year?

John Starks: Oh, its been very good, very positive. The guys have been responding this year. Obviously bringing in Amarea true superstarand bringing in Raymond Felton, a very solid point guard thats capable of running the team and making big plays and hitting big shots, it means so much. And then, the development of Wilson Chandler, as well as Gallinari, has been a very rewarding feeling for us as an organization. Then, youre talking about Landry Fields, whos been a big, big bonus, coming in here and doing what hes doing, makes a big difference in how this team is playing.
CSNChicago.com: Can you pinpoint anybody on this rosternot necessarily of yourself, game-wisebut the heart that you played with, the toughness?

John Starks: Raymond Felton comes to mind. Hes that type of player. Hes a kid that that won a national championship before in college and has been trying to prove himself since he got in the league. He had a lot of success last year with the Charlotte Bobcats, leading them to the playoffs. He really reminds me of myself.

CSNChicago.com: As far as the BullsI dont know how much youve had a chance to watch them; obviously Derrick Rose is the guy everybody talks aboutbut youve got guys like Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, they talk about growing up in New York and watching you play. How much does that mean to you that guysand theyre even big menthey got inspired by you?
John Starks: You know, it means a lot. Those are two very talented young players that you mentioned and to see them progress in this league and the way they come in and work, its kind of like a throwback to the old-school players. Guys that really appreciate the opportunity of playing in this league and they go out there and try to improve year after year. You talk about Joakim, when he came in, he wasnt really that highly thought of as a very solid big man, but he has developed his game over the years. And when you talk about Taj, hes proving himself year after year. So, it means a lot to the league when you have young players like that, that are committed.

CSNChicago.com: The Bulls in general, where do you see them this year, as far as their ceiling or moving forward even, what they can do as far as being an upper-echelon team and making a potential championship run?

John Starks: Its all within the framework of the team itself. Theyve got a good coach in Tom Thibodeau and theyve got good assistant coaches, and I know they have former players that are around the team, so the sky is the limit for those guys. Its just how far within themselves that they want to go.

CSNChicago.com: Did Tom Thibodeau ever coach you here?

John Starks: Tom was my assistant coach. Tom has come a long way and Im glad to see he got an opportunity to be a head coach, and hes doing a fabulous job with a good, young team in Chicago. Thats a credit to him and his work ethic, and what hes learned over the years coaching under Doc Rivers and then under Jeff Van Gundy. Guys like that paid their dues and then when they get the opportunity, they have to take advantage of it and hes showing that hes a very qualified coach.
CSNChicago.com: Is it crazy to still see Kurt Thomas out here?
John Starks: Yeah, it is a little crazy, but like I say, hes a throwback to the old-school days and guys like that understand what it means to be in this league and they work at it. If youre a big man and youre working hard like that, you can stay in this league because they need guys like him with his experience to help with the young players, so its good to see that hes still kicking the tires.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

How many more championships does LeBron James have to win to be in the conversation with Michael Jordan?

How many more championships does LeBron James have to win to be in the conversation with Michael Jordan?

LeBron James has made a ridiculous seven straight NBA Finals, putting him (again) at the center of the 'Greatest Player of All-Time' debate. 

Ahead of his third straight championship series against the Golden State Warriors, James discussed how his streak will shape his place among the greats.  

"I think it's gonna be great for my legacy," James said to reporters. "Once I'm done playing the game, when we look back on the game, and we say, 'Oh, this guy went to three straight finals, four straight finals, five, six, whatever, seven.' I think it's great to be talked about, to see what I've been able to accomplish as an individual. You talk about longevity and being able to just play at a high level for a long period of time, and I've been fortunate enough to be able to do that." 

The SportsTalk Live panel discussed his comments and debated how many more rings The King would need to be in the conversation with Michael Jordan. 

Here's what each had to say: 

CSN's Mark Schanowski

"He would have to win three to reach Jordan's six just to be in the conversation. All those losses in the finals are obviously going to have an impact, so we'll give LeBron the sportsmanship ribbon. Michael just collects rings." 

WGN Radio's Mark Carman

"I would say 100. I'm not giving that up ever. Yes, I am extremely biased. But listen, this is an incredible opportunity for him. You've got a phenomenal Warriors team. You've got, for whatever reason, Las Vegas is making Cleveland a huge underdog. This is a great chance for him" 

Bleacher Report's Seth Gruen 

"To me, it's not a number. To me, he's gotta stop talking like that because that's loser talk. And I don't mean to come off with this sort of meatballish take, but the reality is you would have never heard Michael Jordan say that. And that's why Lebron gets so much flack in the conversation comparing the two because he's in the business of raising trophies, not second place." 

Chicago Tribune's Chris Hine 

"I think when it comes to Jordan, as somebody who didn't grow up in Chicago, I want him to get closer to six titles because I wanna see this town explode over the debate between LeBron and Jordan. I think to have a legitimate case, though, and to at least put it in people's mind that he's better than Jordan, he's got to at least get to six."  

Could Derrick Rose reunite with Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota?

Could Derrick Rose reunite with Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota?

Tom Thibodeau was without Derrick Rose for the first time in his head-coaching career last season, coaching the Timberwolves while Rose suited up for the New York Knicks.

But a reunion may be on the horizon. Rose is an unrestricted free agent and the Timberwolves, though they don't have a real need at point guard, are showing interest in the Chicago native. We'll have to wait until July 1, when free agency begins, to see what happens.

See what special guest Nick Friedell, Bulls beat reporter for ESPN, had to say about the topic on SportsTalk Live in the video above.