VIDEO: Knicks’ rookie Kristaps Porzingis is all the rage in New York
Kristaps Porzingis of the Knicks and Myles Turner of the Pacers will alternate on a weekly diary for NBA.com covering life as a rookie, from challenges and success on the court to adjusting to their new world off. This week: Porzingis discusses winning over the fans who were skeptical before the draft, especially the young Knicks supporter who was captured crying when New York selected Porzingis but was photographed a couple weeks ago wearing a Porzingis jersey.
Somebody, I think my brother, told me the kid had my jersey a while before the picture came out. I actually saw the kid when we were warming up one day before the picture came out. He was on the sideline and he was giving me high fives all the time, but I didn’t realize it was that kid. His dad was there too, to take a picture, me with him. That would have been real fun to take that picture. We didn’t because I didn’t realize it was that kid and I was warming up. We’ve got to make it happen now. I told my brother whenever he sees that kid he’s got to bring him to the sideline so we can take a picture.
I will joke around with him a little bit, but not too hard. He’s still a kid. What would I say to him? I would ask if it was him who was crying at the draft and why was he crying. To hear the explanation from the kid, that would be funny.
I remember the reaction from fans on Draft Night. It still sits inside of me a little bit. But I wasn’t bothered by it then and now I’m bothered even less. They’re cheering for me now obviously and that’s good. I was able to turn those boos into cheers. But it was more because they didn’t know me, they didn’t know my game, they didn’t know I really loved New York and that was the place I wanted to be. For me to turn them around was not so hard. I just played my game, had a few good games and I think for the most part they kind of fell in love with me a little bit.
I didn’t know how fast it was going to happen until I won them over. But that’s the New York crowd. One moment they’re booing you and you’re not playing well, the next you’re playing well and they love you. That’s how they are. Now they’re cheering for me and they’re happy, but in a month if I’m playing bad or whatever is happening they might boo me again. It’s day-by-day with some fans. It’s day-by-day.
Part of winning them over is my personality and the fact that I know English. But at the end of the day, if I didn’t play well and I wasn’t playing at this level, they wouldn’t respect me the way they do now. They realize that I can play a little bit. That’s what really made them believe.
I’m just being myself basically. I’m not trying too hard. I’m just being myself and if they love it, good, and if they don’t love it, well I’m just going to be myself and the way I am. I’m not going to change or be fake to win over the fans.
There are a lot of Knicks fans in every city. Everywhere we go. I think a lot of people are recognizing me even when I’m on the road. I was the guy everybody was talking about before the draft that nobody knew. I think a lot of people know me because of that, because of the draft. And now that I’m playing well, they kind of got to know me a little more. I can feel it a little bit on the road, that they recognize me a little bit.
But there’s no better place to become a great player and become a great team than New York.