CONCOURSE VILLAGE, The Bronx (PIX11) — The local nonprofit BronxWorks teamed up with the New York Knicks Thursday to give students a unique experience of learning the game of basketball from former New York Knicks and NBA legend John Starks.

Kaydin Bent, 11, said she discovered her love for basketball as a young child, watching her parents play the game casually growing up. She now has big dreams to one day play professionally.

“My dream is to be a WNBA player, to practice a lot, to become and achieve that goal,” Bent said.

Bent is one of dozens of middle school students who attended a basketball clinic at BronxWorks, getting a crash course in the game from Starks. He’s hoping to pass the torch to the next generation of ballers. 

“Whenever these kids get an opportunity to come to clinics like this, it makes a big difference because you’re teaching them the fundamentals of the game of basketball,” Starks said. “You give them a solid ground to be able to stand on — they’re going to learn, and they’re going to play it, and they’re going to enjoy it just like I did when I grew up.”

Jr. Knicks coaches taught students the same drills and exercises their players go through, but this clinic went beyond the sport — teaching students life lessons like perseverance.

“Keep doing it,” said Bent. “Don’t give up because of what other people say. Just keep going. Achieve your goals.”

The nonprofit has been in the borough for five decades, providing much-needed resources to Bronxites in need. With their newly renovated gym, staff and local leaders are empowering the youth while also giving them a safe space. 

“Actually having a place where you’re active, you’re around positive people, it feels safe,” said Bronx Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner. “It’s very important and very much needed in the community.”

BronxWorks is hoping to help students develop their skills while also pushing them to become future leaders.