Knickerbockers’ Houston, Starks stress the value of reading


Cablevision’s Power to Learn Knicks Read to Achieve summer reading event at the New Rochelle Public Library. Center to right, back row, former Knicks star John Starks, Cablevision Area Director of Government Affairs Dan Ahouse and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin.
Contributed Photo

The New Rochelle Public Library hosted former New York Knicks star Allan Houston for an NBA Read to Achieve program on Aug. 6.

Houston, who is currently the assistant general manager for the Knicks, read aloud to the 60 children in attendance, who ranged in age from five to 13, from the book “Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball” by John Coy.

After reading the book aloud to the children, Houston assisted in a raffle in which several children won bags filled with Knicks apparel, and five others won two tickets to a 2013-2014 Knicks game at Madison Square Garden.

“Anytime you have kids having fun reading, that’s a huge success,” Houston said. “I think reading sets up a strong foundation for imagination, intelligence and stretching their study habits.”

Former Knicks guard John Starks kicked off the event by spending time with the students before Houston arrived and posed for pictures and signed autographs. Also participating in the event was Democratic Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and MSG varsity reporter Kevin Devaney Jr., who emceed the event.

The event was sponsored by Kia Motors and Cablevision’s Power to Learn Program. Paulin was the mastermind behind the event as she felt the New Rochelle library would be the best place to hold such an event.

“Programs such as this motivate children to read, and, the more they read, the more they learn,” Paulin said. “Reading also increases their vocabulary and their writing and spelling skills, all of which are critical to success. The entire community joins me in thanking Cablevision, the New York Knicks and Kia Motors for this wonderful event.”

While reading the book aloud to the children, Houston called three children to the stage, who each read a page of the book to their peers. The book was also put on a projector so everyone in the audience could follow along with Houston and the children.

“To me, being in the NBA is so powerful because you have such a huge impact on children and when you can be received in this way that’s what makes it all worthwhile,” Houston said.