Cigar Aficionado

Smoking With John Starks

Few people have dunked over Michael Jordan. One man who did—and did it emphatically, in a big game situation—is John Starks.

If you watched New York Knicks basketball in the 1990s, you know John Starks very well. He was the dynamic, damn the torpedoes, full-speed ahead shooting guard for the Pat Riley era Knickerbockers, and he played with fire, passion and guts. Playing alongside Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley, Starks and the Knicks came thisclose to an NBA crown.

I remember the dunk. It was the 1993 playoffs. With under a minute left in the game, Starks had the ball along the right side of the court and was being guarded by B.J. Armstrong. He saw an opening and took off along the baseline for the basket, dribbling with his right hand, and soared over Horace Grant as Jordan came in to help defend. Starks switched the ball to his left hand, soaring incredibly high for a guy listed at 6’5” tall, dunking over the Bulls with authority. It’s one of the most exciting plays I’ve ever watched.

I knew Starks had a great basketball game, but I only found out he enjoyed cigars the other day when I spoke to his business associate, Gary Basciano. Starks loves his smokes so much that he’s coming out with his own cigar brand called Dominican Legends. He came by the Cigar Aficionado offices the other day so I could try one of the new smokes. Here we are chatting about them:

The smoke was very pleasant: Cameroon wrapper around a Dominican binder and a mix of Dominican and Nicaraguan filler. The cigars are made by Eddy Zarzuela, who owns E. Zarzuela Cigars in the Pisano Free Zone in Santiago.

I enjoyed the smoke. It had a substantial amount of flavor without being overpowering, and was extremely pleasant. A nice cigar. It will be on the market next month.

P.S.: I tried dunking on my co-worker Jack Bettridge after smoking the Dominican Legend. It didn’t work.

"For all you John Starks fans who would like to enjoy his signature cigar just like our buddy Dave: you can now visit Stamford Cigar Lounge in Stamford, CT, an inviting space with comfortable leather seating, nine big screen TV's and plenty of room for friends. They are a cigar boutique featuring cigars from E. Zarzuela, which are some of the best cigars imported from the Dominican Republic, including the Dominican Legends, John Starks' signature cigar. So come on by you'll might just run into Starks himself." —September 2, 2011 12:46 PM
"Dave, You would have had better luck dunking over Barry A. than Jack B.. I wish John as much success in the cigar business as he had in basketball. Regards,Alan Rubin" —October 27, 2008 15:56 PM
"I'm a big fan of John Starks and would love to experience his cigar of choice. Where can the Dominican Legends be purchased?" —October 15, 2008 20:36 PM