When Kristaps Porzingis entered our lives, he was just a seven-foot Latvian man we knew nothing about. Sure, you could tell he was athletic from the same four YouTube clips that were featured on draft specials, but there was still so much mystery surrounding him. Then, he officially came into the NBA when he was drafted by the Knicks fourth overall; a lanky big man who was as thick as a spider web. Little did we know as he was serenaded by the boos of the hometown New York fans was that we had a monster on our hands.
Prior to the start of the 2015-16 NBA season, people didn’t know what to expect from Porzingis. Knick fans look back at the moment they booed KP when he was first drafted by the team and they feel ashamed of themselves, but you can’t really blame them. New York fans have suffered enough and all odds pointed towards him being one of the larger busts in recent memory so their “glass is bone-dry” level of optimism is understood, but it’s even more reasonable considering how many times we’ve been duped by foreign players who were supposed to be franchise-changers.
Darko Milicic was supposed to be so good he was drafted in front of Melo, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade. Yi Jianlian was supposed to be the next Yao Ming just because of a workout video where he was literally posting up chairs. Jan Vesley may have given us a glimpse of his gorgeous girlfriend on draft night, but was unmitigatedly regarded as a bust. How was anybody supposed to take Porzingis seriously?
He certainly looked like he had the height and the range to possibly find success in the NBA, but he was also 230 pounds which is incredibly skinny for a man towering over players at 7’1. He looked like a newborn calf who was just learning how to walk and use his body. Seriously, it was like looking at Steve Rogers before he became Captain America.
Then, he started terrorizing anybody who ever bothered coming into the paint and baptizing players on a nightly basis.
— The Crossover (@TheCrossover) November 26, 2015
— 247Sports (@247Sports) January 27, 2016
— SB Nation (@SBNation) March 29, 2016
He went from a risky lottery pick to one of the most unique basketball players on the planet almost instantly, earning himself the nickname “The Unicorn.” Still, that didn’t shake that goofy-tag he had branded to his chest.
You will never be able to convince me that Porzingis isn't the blue Monstar from Space Jam pic.twitter.com/1uBN1Smvj0
— Irish Mamba (@theoshow34) December 25, 2016
That’s where his real transformation happened. Reaching your potential is always impressive sure, but transforming yourself from lanky foreign kid to international bad boy who’s going to dunk on you and steal your girl in 60 minutes is a metamorphosis that needs deep scientific studying.
Wow KP really went "your daughter will be home by 9" to "your daughter calls me daddy now" pic.twitter.com/l0WgrzMAbz
— Wile E. Coyote (@jaradx1467) September 12, 2017
It’s hard to say when the moment actually came. That kind of Chris Pratt-bravado he’s working on was always around when he was putting people on posters in Madison Square Garden on a nightly basis or getting into scraps as a rookie, but that small fire inside of him has now become the type of wildfire they’re basing the new movie “Only The Brave” off of. He went from a young boy from Latvia to a superstar who’s casually sliding into supermodels’ DMs.
Kristaps Porzingis is a savage pic.twitter.com/1l3KcpzvhC
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) August 17, 2017
It’s such a strange phenomenon to discover just what that trigger was. A likely option could be the fame and fortune getting to his head considering he went from Liepaja, Latvia to Time fu**ing Square but that’s not the case. He isn’t getting arrogant and cocky, he’s getting more confident.
The two are often confused and can be synonymous at times, but there’s a line drawn in the sand that Porzingis has not crossed. He’s not hitting on girls asking if they’re Knick fans and asking if they want the pipe like New York Knicks legend JR Smith has done in the past. Porzingis is just a Latvian boy who’s stunned by the beauty of many girls including Ines Nikic, even if he can’t figure out how old they are.
It’s not like he’s spending all his hard work and efforts on the DMs now. He’s still the same Latvian lightweight champ who will get in your face on the hardwood, only he’s got a bit more muscle on his bones and will take old washed pros like Anthony Randolph to the woodshed quicker than he can find the perfect emoji to send to a girl.
Here's Anthony Randolph's cheap shot on Porzingis that led the technicals: pic.twitter.com/M8fszIXQ0Q
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) September 12, 2017
— Sportando (@Sportando) September 12, 2017
Randolph better think twice before asking Porzingis if he wants to go outside. He might’ve wanted to ask that question when KP was a rookie and he was just one year removed from the NBA. Now, he’s not that same skinny 20-year-old he was. The old Kristaps can’t come to the phone. Why? Because he’s too busy trying to find a new girl for the night.
Kristaps Porzingis Instagram post this morning…
FYI for all the young ladies out there pic.twitter.com/oy4k5yMQ4x
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) September 20, 2017
Finding the right reason is simpler than you think. What’s one thing that gets most men fired up beyond belief and ready to jump into any and every fight possible?
Getting called a pussy.
Kristaps Porzingis Reportedly Skipped Exit Meeting After Being Profanely Emasculated By Jeff Hornacek https://t.co/FLpCfEr4kn
— The Big Lead (@thebiglead) August 30, 2017
That’ll absolutely do it. That’ll spark a life change in anyone.
Ever since that moment, we’ve seen Porzingis differently. He became more outspoken, skipping the exit interview for obvious reasons and becoming one of the main reasons why Phil Jackson was tossed out of New York City when he got put on the trade block, potentially ruining the Knicks even more. Then he spent the summer jacked out of his mind, sliding into DMs and building up his legacy as a Latvian love symbol just in time for him to officially take the key to the city from Carmelo Anthony.
He was always a talented basketball player, a potential perennial All-Star, and a valued trade asset for many teams around the league who wanted to make him the face of the franchise, but now, Porzingis is a killer. He’s the kind of man you don’t want near your daughter and you want on your side in a fight. Soon, he’ll be breaking rims at a local arena near you with more swagger than ever before. You can’t teach swagger boys and girls, you can only find it within yourself.
Who knew one of the dumpster fires in Madison Square Garden could light the fire inside young Porzingis.