Trent Tucker spent nine of his 11 seasons in the NBA with the Knicks. He’s primarily remembered for his buzzer-beater in a 1990 game against the Bulls, which led to rule against catching and shooting the ball with less than three-tenths of a second remaining.
These days, Tucker is a spokesperson for Hunger Impact Partners. The Minneapolis non-profit deals with childhood nutrition programs for low-income households in the state.
“Being able to provide opportunities for kids to have nutritious food is something that’s always been a big thing to me,” Tucker said.
He spent the last five years as director of athletics for the Minneapolis Public Schools before reigning in February. He landed at Hunger Impact Partners, having worked with them a few years ago when he was the keynote speaker at a conference on nutrition.
“I was looking maybe to do something a little bit more impactful, something that had a purpose that I believed in,” Tucker said.
Oftentimes, kids Tucker meets aren’t even aware of opportunities and programs available. “It’s painful and disheartening to see, especially when a young person doesn’t have the ability to access food,” Tucker said.
Before he was a Knick, Tucker grew up in Flint, Michigan. “It was a very tough environment to grow up in and to have someone outside of your family structure to be there for you is so important,” Tucker said. “And it helps so many kids find the right path to travel. And I was lucky enough to go on to play professional basketball and live out my dream as an athlete but all the people along the way, they played a very important part of my development.”
Tucker asked people how he could repay them. He was told to pass it on.
Tucker attended the University of Minnesota, and later had his number retired by the school. Then he was drafted by the Knicks with the sixth overall pick in 1982. His agent, Irwin Weiner, got him involved in philanthropic activities. Being a Knick certainly didn’t hurt open doors.
“I always felt like that if I was in a position where I could do something to help others I wouldn’t hesitate to do that,” Tucker said.
Now he’s making a difference about a problem which is not limited to the inner-cities, and not limited to only parts of this country, but throughout the world.
“I relay the message how important nutrition is for development of kids athletically, academically as well,” Tucker said. “And I know there are a lot of kids across the country that may lack the opportunity to have nutritious food.”
Tucker played with the Knicks from 1982-1991, playing in the postseason for memorable teams like the 1984 underdogs led by Bernard King, the 1989 bomb squad coached by Rick Pitino, and the 1990 team that stunned the Celtics in the Boston Garden with Patrick Ewing hitting a clutch corner three.
Even though his buzzer-beater is what he’s remembered most for, he enjoyed his whole tenure as a Knick.
“Just being able to play for an organization like this for so long, of living out a dream of being able just to make the NBA,” Tucker said. “I know how hard that is. Having some wonderful teammates that I played with, guys who not only became friends trough my playing days but we’re still friends today.
It’s a bond that would never be broken. It’s a special place for anyone to have a chance to be a part of and those guys will always be part of a friendship group for a lifetime.”
After one season with the Spurs, Tucker ended his career with the 1993 Bulls, winning a NBA title in his final season.
In his current position, Tucker focuses on communication and listening to the children.
“We as adults or organizers, we think we have all the answers and all the ideas, but at times we don’t,” Tucker said. “I think when you’re able to sit down and listen to what some of the things these young people have to say it allows you to create and carve out a better plan moving forward.”
Tucker added, “I think the more that we can bring out the message and the more people can come together as a team, everyone, in the future we may be able to cure this epidemic that’s facing us worldwide.”