New York Knicks launch Saturday Night Lights clinics in Jamaica this weekend

The New York Knicks host a free clinic this Saturday at the Jamaica YMCA for teens from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. as part of the Saturday Night Lights program. (Photo courtesy of DYCD)

The New York Knicks will tip off their free weekly basketball clinics for teens in Jamaica on Saturday evening.

The clinics will feature Knicks alumni and serve Saturday Night Lights participants across the five boroughs beginning on Saturday, Feb. 19, at the Jamaica YMCA located at 89-25 Parsons Blvd.

The Knicks launched the new partnership with YMCA of Greater New York and the city Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) and will host the clinic presented by Nike for teens between the ages of 11 and 18.

“It is a priority that the children in our communities have access to safe places to play, as well as great programming so they can enjoy themselves, and these clinics are a great example of bringing everyone together,” former Knicks star John Starks said. We are thrilled to partner with the YMCA and the Department of Youth & Community Development on this initiative and can’t wait to get started.”

Starks became a fan-favorite during the 1990s when he rose from obscurity in the CBA, along with Springfield Gardens hoops legend Anthony Mason, to become an NBA All-Star on Coach Pat Riley’s powerhouse squad. Following his retirement in 2003, Starks joined the Knicks front office as the team’s Alumni and Fan Development Advisor.

Former Knicks star John Starks doing community outreach in LeFrak City. (QNS/File)

The Knicks will host a free clinic at a different YMCA branch each week, as part of the Saturday Night Lights program.

“One of the YMCA’s top priorities is to keep our teens and youth safe and engaged in healthy activities,” YMCA of Greater New York President and CEO Sharon Greenberger said. “Teaming up with the New York Knicks and DYCD enables the Y to create safe, positive experiences for even more New York City youth at a critical time when outlets like this are needed most by kids across the city. We’re grateful to the Knicks for their decades of support for the communities we serve and proud to partner with this storied franchise in their 75th anniversary season.”

Beginning last Aug. 13, YMCA of Greater New York branches and the DYCD have provided a safe space for teens in their communities through the Saturday Night Lights program.

The New York Knicks Saturday Night Lights Clinics, presented by Nike, will run for two hours, from 5:50 to 7:30 p.m. During each of the clinics, participants will have the opportunity to strengthen their ball handling and shooting skills, get to meet a current or former Knicks player, and score a free T-shirt.

“Keeping young people safe, engaged, and away from guns is a priority of the Adams administration, and this exciting partnership is a step toward achieving those goals,” DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong said. “DYCD and our Saturday Night Lights program are excited to collaborate with the Knicks and the YMCA of Greater New York to help participants work on their game and inspire them to become future leaders on and off the court.”

For more information on the Saturday Night Lights program, including a schedule for future events across the city, visit the DYCD website here.