Salvatore Pane

Tag: John Starks

Moving to Tumblr


It’s been a long time coming, but I’m finally moving all my blogging to Tumblr like it’s 2011. You can find me here, and I hope if you’ve read any of my ramblings from 2010-onward, you’ll stay with me. The truth is I’ve had significantly less time to blog ever since taking a job at UIndy as an Assistant Professor. Any free writing time I do have is usually spent on my novel, and it’s been difficult to muster up the energy to write the kind of posts I used to do when I was a graduate student or even when I was adjuncting. Instead, my time on the web has been diverted into livetweeting Knicks games and reposting pictures of cashmere socks or Short Circuit 2 gifs, and that’s something more in line with the Tumblr set.

However, I’m definitely going to keep this site as a kind of repository for links to published work, upcoming readings, and general bio information. I’ve fixed all the links–guys, web journals change their URLs maybe every two years, and it’s hard to keep up with–and switched to a static front page. More than anything, I just want to thank all of you who have read any of this at any point. When I started blogging in January 2010, I knew so little of the indie lit scene. I didn’t know about the myriad of venues available to us outside of the big, traditional journals, and I can’t tell you how life-affirming it’s been to meet so many young and like-minded writers from all across the country. I never thought when I started this site that it would eventually lead to making all sorts of real life friends who produce work I love and admire. The last four years have really been wonderful, and if you’ve been any part of that whatsoever, I want to thank you. You are all the John Starks of my heart.


Goodnight Knicks

goodnight jr

In the great big Garden
There were two lonely banners
And a chubby Carmelo
And a video of
Earl going pipestrong on all

And Novak and Cope and Camby were sitting on pine
And the decapitated head of Tyson Chandler
And YA author Amar’e
And a ’95 Co-Rookie of the Year
And a rapper named Iman
And Pope Pablo and Woodson’s beard and an extra large burrito just for Ray Felton
And little old Spike who was screaming “Blue and Gold Skies Forever!”

Goodnight Garden
Goodnight Melo
Goodnight pipestrong Earl
Goodnight League Pass
And the two lonely banners dead in the rafters

Goodnight Novak, Cope, and Camby
Goodnight Breen
Goodnight Tyson’s zombie corpse
And goodnight STAT and your bones made from glass

Goodnight Clyde
And goodnight Lala
Goodnight little blogs
And goodnight Stephen A. who knows everyone personally

Goodnight Pablo
And goodnight Woody
Goodnight burrito
Goodnight Ray
And goodnight to Spike whimpering “John Starks.”

Goodnight stars
Goodnight Melo
Goodnight noises everywhere.

Rap Genius Invited Me to Annotate My Story About John Starks Called “John Starks”


This is the greatest achievement of my life.


Let me take you back to 1999. It was a pivotal year in my sports fandom. Dan Marino, my all-time favorite football player and the unquestioned leader of my beloved Miami Dolphins, played his final game. The NBA lockout was drawing to a close, but not without affecting my enthusiasm for the game. My love affair with the NBA, and more specifically, the New York Knicks, began five years earlier when Patrick Ewing led the team to the Finals. Battle-tested warriors like John Starks and Charles Oakley lost out to Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets while Michael Jordan hammed it up in Birmingham playing minor league baseball. I was ten years old and still vividly remember where I was when we lost the title. My mother had taken me to a pool party one of her co-workers was throwing, and I sat dry and upset in the living room watching the game unfold with the co-worker’s husband. We sat quietly, and the man only made a comment when Ewing, or more frequently Olajuwon, threw down a thunderous dunk. At halftime, my mom drove me home, and I watched the Knicks wilt. Something about the way they so utterly choked–I need not mention John Starks’ disastrous performance–endeared the Knicks to me more than any title ever could. Like Spider-Man, my favorite superhero, the Knicks could lose and even be embarrassed. This was no dynasty, and over the next five years I watched them choke again and again, tormented by Reggie Miller, Pat Riley, and then the Supreme Evil One, Michael Jordan, returned from the baseball fields of mediocrity to again torment Patrick Ewing, the college foe he’d dispatched in the NCAA title game a decade earlier.

After Jordan’s second of three retirements, it became clear that we’d reached this iteration of the Knicks’ final chance for glory. By the time I prepared to enter high school, Patrick Ewing was on the slow slide to forty and could barely dunk, Larry Johnson’s stats had regressed every season since his rookie year, and Allan Houston was about to endure a series of career shortening injuries. Even Jeff Van Gundy, my favorite Knicks coach, was about to be kicked out of Madison Square Garden forever. The window for the Knicks to get a title was about to slam shut, and what I didn’t know at the time was that both the Knicks and Dolphins were about to begin a decade of irrelevance. The days of watching Knick game after Knick game on the MSG network were about to come to a sudden stop.

If you don’t know the history, here’s what happened: the Knicks barely made the ’99 playoffs. After a series of unexpected wins against longtime rivals, the Heat and Pacers, the team lost to the Spurs in the Finals in an eerie callback to the ’94 series John Starks no-showed. Dan Marino retired. Patrick Ewing left New York. I entered high school and adopted a pretentious too cool for sports mentality I awkwardly cultivated deep into college. I found my way back to basketball through March Madness years later, but it wasn’t till Amar’e Stoudemire signed with the Knicks in the summer of 2010 when I really began following the team night in and night out again

All of this preamble exists so I can tell you this: last week I purchased NBA 2k on Sega Dreamcast for 99 cents. In it, the Knicks are how they exist in my sepia-toned memories. Patrick Ewing! Larry Johnson! Latrell Sprewell! Allan Houston! Charlie Ward! Marcus Camby! Kurt Thomas! I can replay the ’99 playoffs and fix things once and for all. I WILL LIVEBLOG MY JOURNEY INTO THE HEART OF THE DIGITAL PLAYOFFS, AND THEN AND ONLY THEN WILL I BECOME A REAL PERSON.

Over the next few weeks (months?), I’m going to be chronicling my run through the ’99 playoffs. I’ll also be livestreaming all future games on my ustream channel. Unfortunately, NBA 2k doesn’t allow you to select which teams make the playoffs, so what you see below is the playoff picture the computer dealt to me. One game in, and the Knicks have annihilated the Scottie Pippen-less Bulls to take a 1-0 lead. Purists take note, I have updated the ’99 best of five round one format to the best of seven round one the NBA currently uses today. Please forgive me.

Please, please forgive me.

2013-01-30 17.09.06 2013-01-30 17.09.19
2013-01-30 17.25.45 2013-01-30 17.39.46 2013-01-30 17.40.15

Mixtape of the Year #ChasingIlluminatiMoney


New York Knick second year sensation Iman Shumpert dropped his first mixtape today. “The #Post90s” is a free download over at, and you better cop it. My boy 21 Shump Street references John Starks AND Larry Johnson AND Marty McFly in the first 45 seconds so you know this shit is hot. Let’s give it up to the only kid in the game man enough to rock Charlie Ward’s number. Suck it, Mayans.



American Short Fiction May Web Exclusive

Bros! My story “John Starks” is American Short Fiction‘s web exclusive for the month of May. Check it out. Read the interview here.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted NBA Fantasy: How We Can Survive the Lockout

If we put up a united front, we can beat this Lockout.

The single greatest tragedy to ever befall humanity took place in 1999, when the NBA Players’ Union went on strike effectively shortening that year’s pro basketball season to 50 games. I was fourteen. I had given up comic books and other ungainly reminders of my youth after discovering girls. On the precipice of high school, I was nearly ready to abandon sports altogether. Dan Marino was about to retire from my beloved Miami Dolphins, and it was clear that no matter how the ’99 Lockout shook out, Patrick Ewing (my all-time favorite athlete) was not long for the world of pro hoops. He was the spokesperson for the Players’ Union that year, and he was always on Sportscenter giving murky updates about the Lockout and the players’ demands. I vividly remember seeing him on TV at my grandmother’s house during this period of great unknown, and he did not resemble the hulking warrior of my childhood fantasies. He looked tired and old.

The ’99 Lockout finally ended when the owners threatened to use scab players. The NBA managed a 50 game season in which my New York Knickerbockers surged into the Finals only to be dispatched by Tim Duncan and those dastardly San Antonio Spurs, a spiritual repeat of the ’94 Finals in which I watched my heroes fall victim to the Houston Rockets (the ’94 loss was even worse because John Starks, one of the all time great Knickerbockers, had suffered a mid-season injury and was only a shell of his former self; at full capacity and with Jordan stinking it up in Double A baseball, surely the Knicks would have finally won that evasive championship). The Knicks’ roster was dismantled after the next season. Ewing was sent packing and it wasn’t long before fan favorite coach Jeff Van Gundy was exiled to Houston. As high school dragged on, the Knicks weren’t mine anymore. Their players resembled villains straight out of Jack Kirby, cruel jokes with gruesome sci-fi names like Starbury and the pint-sized dunk champion Nate “Donkey” Robinson. I fell out of sports completely, and it wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I returned to both the Knicks and the Dolphins, proud franchises who had squandered the ensuing decade (the Dolphins to endless quarterback changes and the Knicks to a deluge of outrageous longterm contracts).

Hope came last offseason. We didn’t win the LeBron sweepstakes, but we did manage to sign Amar’e Stoudemire, a player I now affectionately refer to as “my boy” , a player who has over the course of a single season moved up my rankings of all time favorite Knickerbockers to #3 (behind Ewing and Allan Houston but ahead of John Starks). He’s an offensive specimen, he parties with Kanye West, and he’s writing a YA series about basketball. He’s a player I can get behind and thanks to him (and to a much lesser extent the plump Carmelo Anthony aka Mr. Lala), the Knicks returned to the playoffs for the first time in years.

And now, just as the Knicks are primed to return to Eastern Conference dominance in the wake of the Miami Heat’s collapse and Boston’s unceremonious march into the annals of old age, the Players’ Union is going on strike. Again. Guys. I can’t fucking deal with this. NBA at Halloween is a tradition for me, and the thought of going without it (or worse, no NBA on Christmas day) is just too much. Many NBA fans only start following in the playoffs. I can’t do that. I love the regular season and its endless continuity, how Knicks games can be televised nationally on back to back nights. It’s not like football where everything is so dependent on weekends. Following professional basketball is a 24/7 pastime that gives me comfort, solace, and relief.

To that end, I have devised a plan to get through the NBA Lockout and I urge you (the true shining ballers) to join me. Below, I have posted every Knick game that was supposed to be nationally televised over the course of the 2011-2012 season. Of the 82 possible games, 22 were selected for national broadcast (as a child, I had access to the Madison Square Garden network which meant I could watch EVERY home game, but alas, in Pittsburgh I am deprived of such basketball holiness). This is what I’m going to do. Every time a Knick game is supposed to be on, I’m going to drink whiskey in the dark and watch an old game on YouTube while suppressing thoughts of rage and ineptitude. I’m going to drink until I don’t have feelings anymore. I’m going to relive the glory days of my youth. Only you can stop this, David Stern. Only you can stop this, Amar’e Stoudemire. I’m begging you. Please. For my well-being, end the Lockout. I’ll be live tweeting my experiences, and if you want to follow along, I’ve provided links below. I’ll be starting the games right on time. The official hashtag is #MamaThereGoesThatMan. Together, we can end the NBA Lockout. I’ve never believed in a political movement in all my life, but this is something I’m willing to sacrifice for.  I don’t want to live in a world without the NBA. We are the 51%.

Wednesday Nov 2nd 8PM (1999: New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers Playoffs Game 1 of 6

Tuesday November 8th 8PM (1999: New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers Playoffs Game 3 of 6

Wednesday November 16th 10:30PM (1999: New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers Playoffs Game 5 of 6

Thursday November 17th 10:30PM (1999: New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers Playoffs Game 6 of 6

Wednesday December 7 7PM  (1994: New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls Playoffs Game 1 of 7

Tuesday December 15th 7PM (1994: New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls Playoffs Game 2 of 7

Tuesday December 22nd 8PM (1994: New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls Playoffs Game 3 of 7

Sunday December 25th 12PM (1994: New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls Playoffs Game 4 of 7

Thursday January 12th 8PM (1994: New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls Playoffs Game 5 of 7

Friday January 27th 8PM (1994: New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls Playoffs Game 6 of 7

Thursday February 2nd 8PM (1994: New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls Playoffs Game 7 of 7

Friday February 17th 8PM (1998: New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat Playoffs Game 2 of 5

Sunday February 19th 1PM (1998: New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat Playoffs Game 5 of 5

Thursday February 23rd 8PM (2011: New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics Playoffs Game 1 of 4 NOTE: You have to torrent this one)

Sunday March 4th 1PM (2011: New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics Playoffs Game 2 of 4 NOTE: You have to torrent this one)

Monday March 12th 8PM (TBA because surely the Lockout won’t last this long)

Wednesday March 21st 7PM (TBA because surely the Lockout won’t last this long)

Thursday April 5th 7PM (TBA because surely the Lockout won’t last this long)

Sunday April 8th 1PM (TBA because surely the Lockout won’t last this long)

Tuesday April 10th 9:30PM (TBA because surely the Lockout won’t last this long)

Sunday April 15th 1PM (TBA because surely the Lockout won’t last this long)

Tuesday April 17th 8PM (TBA because surely the Lockout won’t last this long)

My boy is proud as shit.