There’s a new kid in New York City and he is extremely good at proving his doubters wrong every time he steps on the shiny court of the Madison Square Garden.
His name is Kristaps Porzingis, KP to his teammates, and he is currently in line to win the NBA Rookie of The Year Award for his show of excellence.
The Latvian-born 20-year-old, measuring 2.21 meters, started his basketball career in the youth teams around Latvia before landing in Spain where he joined the Baloncesto Sevilla youth squad before being promoted to the senior team, competing in the Spanish ACB professional league.
Porzingis’s popularity and fan base literally exploded when he declared himself eligible for the 2015 NBA draft, in which he was selected by the New York Knicks for the 4th pick in the first round; becoming the highest-drafted Latvian in history.
From Latvia With Love
Kris Porzingis is the type of player that plays under the motto of: “Go ahead, underestimate me!”
The 2015 NBA Draft-day will always be remembered by Kris for two reasons: one because his dream of playing in the NBA came true and second because he could hear the New York Knicks’ fans booing him from the stands.
The fans were extremely unhappy with their franchise’s draft pick because they expected to hear the name of a well-known first American-team player.
Instead, they got a European big man with huge talent whose last name they couldn’t even spell correctly. The Knicks’ legendary former coach and current general manager Phil Jackson, who won 11 NBA Championships, received endless amounts of criticism for selecting Kris in the draft.
In other words, Kris Porzingis was already guilty until proven innocent.
Fortunately, the evidence was brought to the table fairly quickly after Kris made his debut for the Knicks in the team’s season opener against the Milwaukee Bucks on October 28, recording 16 points and 5 rebounds in a 122–97 satisfying win.
I always got to stay sharp and aggressive on the court. That’s just how I am.
– Kristaps Porzingis
Porzingis went on to record his first NBA career double double (13 points, 14 rebounds) against the legendary San Antonio Spurs. A month later, Kris had a season-high game with 24 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks in a 107–102 win over the Houston Rockets.
Beside his strong and consistent performances, Porzingis made global sports headlines on multiple occasions for his breath-taking putback dunks, where you witness the Latvian national jump over his opponents to dunk the ball with unbelievable power and ambition.
As a player myself, I was astonished to see Porzingis’s impact in the league in such little time but most importantly, I was extremely pleased to see that he silenced all of his doubters in a matter of weeks.
A Bright Future
The NBA 2015-2016 season has just passed the halfway mark and Porzingis has already received three Rookie of The Month awards, putting him in the lead to win the grand trophy at the end of the season.
He’s for real. He’s long, he’s athletic, and he can put the ball on the floor. He’s the complete package.
– Dirk Nowitzki on Kris Porzingis
After a disastrous previous NBA season that saw the Knicks set a new record for most losses in a season (65 losses), it is obvious that Kris Porzingis brings a tank of fresh air, and ambition, to the New York franchise. His influence and impact have done a lot of good to the franchise and its fans that expect great successes for the future.
However, Porzingis has not only impacted his respective organization but also the NBA itself generating millions in revenues through attracting millions of viewers and selling of merchandise.
Porzingis is the 4th most popular player in the NBA according to jersey sales tailing current MVP Stephen Curry, LeBron James and legendary Kobe Bryant.
The NBA is greatly benefiting for Porzingis’s success on the court as a 15% growth was measured in New York Knicks’ official merchandise sold to fans.
Furthermore, Porzingis’s popularity is encouraging the NBA to sign new television and sponsorship deals with eastern European countries, as well as investing in NBA’s expenditure on the European continent; which is extremely appealing to fans and marketing agencies as we would witness more NBA games taking place in Europe.
A Learning Experience
Behind Porzingis’s success stands a pillar of the Knicks’ franchise: Carmelo Antony. Anthony is not only the leader of the team, but also the mentor of every new Knicks’ player.
I want to have a long career in the NBA first, I want to be an All-Star, and hopefully one day I can win a ring with the New York Knicks.
– Kristaps Porzingis
Anthony’s leadership, alongside Porzingis’s unprecedented talent and dedication, has pushed the franchise to dream outside of its comfort zone and work hard towards winning an NBA Championship; 43 years after winning their last one.
Porzingis has found himself in an ideal position for his NBA rookie debuts. Playing for the New York Knicks has not only enabled him to play a lot of minutes on the court while improving in every aspect of the game, but also enabled him to learn from highly experienced players such as Anthony; and coaches who will take him to his the next level.
A revelation has hit New York City and he is there to stay. An entire city has awakened with higher expectations since Kristaps Porzingis was drafted to the New York Knicks last year.
Porzingis has not only proven his doubters wrong, but has also shown his dedication and perseverance in his journey to success.
I personally believe that the New York Knicks have a great future ahead of them as a franchise, which will greatly benefit the NBA’s global expenditure, and my only worry is to see Porzingis involved in a trade in the next few years… but for now, New York City is his home.