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 preparing for his first All-Star weekend, to play for the World team against the United States roster in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge with the best rookies and second-year players on Friday night in Toronto.
I wasn’t too surprised when I was told I had been picked. But it was a goal. I wanted to be in the rookie game. I was already talking about it last season, when I was still in Spain. During this same time, I was talking with my agent and my family that “Hopefully next year or whenever. I want to be there.” So it was a good feeling to make it. It was nice to find out that I was in the game, and I’ll have my parents and two of my older brothers with me.
I would rather play in the game than have the time off during All-Star break. During the season the only thing I focus on is basketball. If you can have a few days off, that’s fine. If not, you keep working. Playing at All-Star weekend was something that I wanted to do and if that’s how it is then I’m not going to get any days off.
I’ve been talking to a few of my teammates and the people who work with the team about what to expect, asking how it’s going to be. Actually you’ve got to do a lot of extra stuff, a lot of media. They’re preparing me for everything that’s coming. They’re mostly telling me that it’s not just one game and that’s it. There’s a lot of stuff going on before. Everybody’s giving me advice.
I’m looking forward to going out there with all the rookies and kind of reuniting with all of them from the rookie transition program before the season. It will be fun. I met all those guys and I stayed in touch with a lot of those guys, so it will be fun to play against them again and have fun out there.
I’m not really trying to meet somebody in particular apart from the game. But it will be nice to see all those famous people out there. Probably not for our game, but more for the big All-Star game. Maybe I’ll get to meet some rappers maybe or other people. I’m not sure yet if I’ll even go to the other events. I might. We’ll see if I stay that long in Toronto.
I’m sure I will be thinking when I’m there about playing in the All-Star game one day. That’s one of my goals, that I want to be there. I want to be an All-Star. Right now I’m really focusing on what’s going on now and not looking two, three, four or five years in front of me. But in the long term, I obviously want to be there. I want to be part of the big event.
That’s motivation for me, how hard you’ve got to work to be there and to make it. That’s one of the rewards you get. To be one of those 24 guys that are in the All-Star game, I think that’s a dream for everybody. But I don’t want to get away from the things that are happening now. I really want to focus on what’s going on now. That opportunity might come, but I’ve just really got to focus on the day-to-day and getting better.
Every event like this is something that stays in your memory. It’s something that you achieved in your first year in the NBA. You’re able to play in the rookie game. That’s a nice thing to remember going forward and looking back 20 years from now and remembering all those good times – my first year, how I got adjusted, how I got picked for the rookie game. Those are good memories. Nothing will be able to replace that.