Now that Kristaps Porzingis has played and impressed Summer League, everyone can have a little laugh about the draft-night boos that rained down when it was announced the Knicks had taken the Latvian big man. He’s in need of good player development, but Porzingis looks like guy who will fit in with the other elite bigs in this draft.
Porzingis himself never seemed worried.
He was relaxed and more than happy to joke about things that happened on draft night in an interview with the fantastic Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report.
Carmelo Anthony reached out to me after I got drafted. He said, “Congrats, welcome to the team.” I didn’t have his number, so I texted back, “Who’s this?” And then a few minutes later, he said, “This is Melo” with his No. 7 as the “l.” I met him actually when I came for my Knicks tryout for the first time. We’ve talked a couple of times since then.
How do you not love that that Anthony uses the text signature “Me7o”? This shouldn’t be a huge shock, he does use the hashtag #StayMe7o on Twitter and Instagram all the time. I’m sure it came from some marketing firm, but he has stuck with it.
As for Porzingis, speaking with him at Summer League you came across a player who was comfortable with the media and in his own skin, someone who got the game and seemed thoughtful. He could be fantastic for the Knicks in the community (if they don’t screw it up).
He had great stories, including about dealing with fans Kevin Garnett reaching out to him.
I would say 99 percent of the fans in Vegas have been positive. Fans are really nice when I see them, but then on social media it’s a little worse. I don’t read everything, but there are still fans who are like, “You’re going to be a bust.” Actually Kevin Garnett gave me advice about that this week. He came up to me after one of our practices when the Timberwolves were walking in.
He knew me a little bit from my interviews. He said, “Take that negative and turn it into energy.” He was telling me, “Just don’t listen to the outside and work as hard as you can.” I really love KG, and it was great having him tell me that advice.
Knicks fans are going to love Porzingis. We just need New Yorkers to be a little bit patient.