All Ball Player Diary

Rookie Diary, Volume 3: Kristaps Porzingis


VIDEO: Kristaps Porzingis nominee for January’s Rookie of the Month

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 being in contention for Rookie of the Year and what the award would mean to fans in New York and his native Latvia. 

Rookie of the Year is secondary for me. It’s nice to have that recognition and that people recognize what I’m doing for the team. But the best reward is making the playoffs and the team having success there. If that happens then I’ll be able to feel better about the season.

I follow other rookies because I’ve gotten to know some of the guys and we stay in touch. Obviously I’m following the NBA, anything about it, so part of that is I’m paying attention to how the rookies did every game. It’s fun to follow those guys. Hopefully I can play a lot of years with all those guys I’ve met.

Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor, they’re playing at a fantastic level right now. They’re good for their teams and their making a lot of plays for their teams. Those two are the best rookies I’ve seen. It’s between us three. Those guys are playing really good basketball and I’m trying to do the same thing. I don’t know how you evaluate who’s been the best. Is it team success? Is it only individual success? But they’re good for their teams.

Winning the award will just show a lot of people who thought I wasn’t ready that I was actually ready my first season. That’s nice to get an award. But it all starts with team success. If the team wins, that’s when all those kind of awards come. That’s the main focus. But obviously it would be very nice to receive awards like that.

I think winning Rookie of the Year would mean a lot to people in New York. We could give them some hope that we’re heading in the right direction and I can be a part of that. That would not only be nice for us, the team, but especially for the city and the fans. They’ve been waiting for that.

And I think people in Latvia would be extremely proud of me. It’s not every day we have a player in the NBA and especially one that is able to play in the first season. They would be really proud of me. That’s one of the things I’m trying to do, make them proud.

I don’t know exactly how big it would be there. I think a lot of people know who I am, but I don’t know if they know much about what the rookie award is. They would all be

really happy about it and for me. I don’t think it would be like a championship celebration, but I think they would definitely be happy for me.

Rookie Diary, Volume 2: Kristaps Porzingis


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.

Rookie Diary, Volume 2: Myles Turner

VIDEO: Myles Turner readies for his first NBA season

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 it. This week: Turner discusses being off the court due to injury, and his unique charity work.

I went to the doctor around 8 a.m., right before shootaround before the game against the Atlanta Hawks (Turner missed 21 games with a fractured left thumb). They told me the X-rays looked good and I was cleared to go. I didn’t play that night, but I was definitely excited. I wasn’t necessarily expecting to play so quickly, but our starting center, Ian Mahinmi, was out and our backup center, Jordan Hill, had tooth surgery when we had a back-to-back against Chicago and Milwaukee so I got a lot of minutes (Twenty-two and 17, respectively).

I had heard rumors that they might send me down to the D-League for a couple games to get my timing back and get acclimated to things. But with the injuries, they just threw me right back out there. I was more than happy to be out there and be producing.

I was ready to go. Conditioning-wise, I felt great and I had so much adrenaline that I really wasn’t tired. I was happy to be back out there. It felt fresh, it felt new. It was my first time out there in a long time. I was really excited, to say the least, and especially when I was at home Thursday against the Bucks. I got a big ovation.

That response meant a lot. The city and the team have a lot of confidence in me and they’re expecting big things from me for the future. To have a franchise and a fan base behind me like that, it just motivates me to get better and work harder.

My timing was a little off, with some of the plays we were running. But other than that it wasn’t that bad. Missing all that time wasn’t necessarily too much of a disadvantage. I actually felt pretty fresh out there. A lot of the guys, or most of the guys, in the league are probably tired at this point. They’ve been going for about six or eight weeks now. A lot of guys’ bodies are tired and I’m a little more fresh.

I’ve been involved in the community during my time away. There’s a campaign I have called WARM. It stands for We All Really Matter. It’s something my mom did when she was younger. She always kept little stuff in the back of her car, whether it was jackets, mittens or water, some little supplies that she could hand out to people in need. She did that when I was younger and just passed it on to me. Now that I have some of the funds to back it, I want to grow it more.

I’ve been putting together little care packages that include Kleenexes, water, a little bit of change, assortments of food, hand warmers, mittens, socks. Stuff like that. Anytime I see a homeless person standing out there on the block, I just go hand it to them. I’m trying to keep WARM going.

Anytime I’m driving and I see somebody and I’m not really late to practice or something, I’ll hand them out. I guess I do it 15 times a week. Some of the guys are really thankful, like, “Man, thank you so much. It means a lot.” I feel like it would be different if I had a camera crew following me around or something. I wouldn’t want people getting the wrong idea about what I was doing. The fact that it’s really genuine, I think they really appreciate and respect that.

Some of them will see my height and ask if I play basketball at all. I’ll just tell them, “Yeah, I play basketball in my spare time,” stuff like that. I won’t try to be anybody relevant or anything like that. But if they know who I am then I’ll say, “What’s up,” and just kind of keep it going. It’s something that I’d like to continue during the winter. Me and my parents are trying to figure out something to do when it’s hotter outside.

It means a lot to me. It means that someone like myself is kind of looking out for people. I know if I was in that position I wouldn’t want people looking down upon me or looking at me because of maybe a couple decisions I made that were wrong in life. I like to keep a positive outlook on it.

Rookie Diary, Volume 1: Kristaps Porzingis

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 it. This week: Porzingis discusses the transition to living in the United States.

I had an idea about America from the movies and New York is in every movie and everywhere on TV. You’ve already seen it, but you maybe don’t see the way people are and little things like that — the culture. But basically, this is what I was kind of waiting for. It’s been nothing unexpected for me.

I’m loving New York so far. The people are great. Everything has been good. The traffic is kind of crazy. And the people. All that chaos is kind of crazy for me. It’s something new, but I think I’m getting used to it. At first I was kind of stressing about it. When I was driving to the game and it didn’t go smoothly and I didn’t get the exit I wanted to. But now when I got used to it I know what’s going to happen and I’m kind of ready for it.

I’m going to need a lot of time to discover everything. But so far, most of the time I’ve been outside the city where I live and just going to the practice facility, working out and coming home and getting some rest. I haven’t really gotten to enjoyed the city that much. I’ll do that when I have more time.

My mom, dad and both my brothers have come with me. My family’s support is everything and my family’s everything. It’s great having them around. Mom’s been cooking, dad’s been watching basketball. We talk basketball all the time. And both my brothers are always there to support me.

Having my family around always helps. You feel good at home, you’re comfortable and you can focus on what you really need to do on the court. They will make everything else as easy as possible on me so I can just do my job. That’s what they’re here for. They’re really making it much easier for me.

And the cold doesn’t bother me. I’m from Northern Europe and I actually like the cold. I love the snow. I always like to have some snow during Christmas time. The cold weather is a part of New York and it’s a part of me too.

I can’t say anything bad about any of the cities I’ve been to. Toronto was really beautiful. I really liked Washington. Miami. The weather and everything was really good. Orlando was nice. I liked Orlando. I haven’t been to L.A. yet, but so far it’s been a lot of beautiful cities. I just haven’t been out much. I’ll probably have more time to do that as my career goes on.

I would like to do some sightseeing, but a lot of times you’re busy or you’re tired and you just want to stay in the hotel and order room service. But whenever I feel like doing that, I try to do that to educate myself as much as possible about the cities. I’m looking forward to going to L.A. The weather is always nice there and my teammate Sasha Vujacic (who played for the Lakers and Clippers) told me he’s going to take me to some nice restaurants. I’m looking forward to that. My family will come with me. Hopefully we’ll have some time and we can spend it together there.

Rookie Diary: Pacers’ Turner on injury, teammates and … bread sticks

Myles Turner

Indiana Pacers rookie big man Myles Turner

By Myles Turner, for NBA.com

Myles Turner of the Pacers and Kristaps Porzingis of the Knicks 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: Turner discusses having to watch much of the start of his pro career because of a fractured left thumb suffered Nov. 11, the support from teammates and coaches, planning to return in early-January … and getting rookie hazing anyway.

When I first heard how long I was going to be out, I immediately wanted to break down a little bit, but I knew I had to remain strong in the situation. These things happen. Injuries are part of the game. I just had to stay up even though I was really frustrated. I realized it’s time for me to reflect and get a little bit stronger in my lower body.

I never would have expected this as the start to my career. Nobody wants to face an injury. I was just starting to get some rhythm going. I just started playing a substantial amount of minutes, about 15, 20 minutes in the rotation. I was doing my role and doing pretty well and building my trust with coach, and it just happened out of nowhere. Of course I was a little frustrated. But once I get back I know I’ll come back stronger.


VIDEO: Myles Turner suffers an injury vs. the Celtics

Everybody has really rallied around me. Paul George, missing almost all of last year, he has gone through more than anybody. He had to miss out on almost a whole year and sit back and reflect. He told me, “Be patient with it, these things happen.” George Hill, he missed a lot of last year too. He told me that he had the same surgery and that it’s something you can come back from very easily. And the coaching staff has been with me too. The whole Pacers organization has been great.

That means a lot. It means that my teammates have rallied around me. I just know that they’re really invested in me and what I can give to this program. Them having my back like that, it definitely means a lot.

I’m there every day anyway. I get to the arena about three or four hours before the games. I still shoot every day. Even though it’s casted up, I can still shoot. I’ve been shooting for the past three weeks now.

I’m hoping to be back right around New Year’s. I’ll probably miss the rest of this month and then get back out there in early January. I know it’s going to be tough after missing so much time, but I’m working on my conditioning right now. The biggest thing is getting back in running shape, moving around the floor. You can do all the treadmill stuff you want, but there’s nothing that can replace being on the floor. I’m getting my wind and my legs back under me. That’s probably the biggest thing, getting my conditioning back up.

I don’t get any sympathy from the veterans because of the injury. I still have to get some bread sticks and donuts for the plane ride. I’ve still got to make sure I get this guy’s soda or do whatever I need to do. They definitely haven’t taken it easy on me.

Yeah, bread sticks. They like the bread sticks. Everybody. I’ve got to get like 30 of them, these special stuffed bread sticks, before the plane rides, plus these special donuts. It’s rough.

I wasn’t expecting any handouts or anybody to feel sorry for me. At the same time, it’s a little tough carrying everybody’s stuff with one hand. Usually Joe Young, the other rookie helps, but he’s in the D-League right now. He’s supposed to come back next week. Hopefully I’ll get some help for the next road trip.

Pat’s Picks: Gladiator gore

By Patrick Patterson, for NBA.com

Time for another #PatsPicks movie review! Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to an advance screening of 300: Rise of an Empire. For a movie lover like me, it’s always special to see something before it is actually out in theaters. I had seen the first 300 when it was out and was a big fan, so I was very excited about the sequel.

Walking out of Rise of an Empire, I was satisfied, but let down a little bit. The best things about the second one were the battle scenes — there were a lot more visual effects, slow-motion film, and a lot more blood and gore. The visual effects actually helped make it a lot better of a movie than what it truly was, if you pared it down to just the script and characters.

The storyline was underdeveloped and the characters were a little shallow. I was specifically hoping the sequel would explore more of the character Xerxes from the first movie, get more into his background and where he came from, but there wasn’t much of that. It just went back to the fight scenes and attacking Greece.

Another character they could have done more with was Themistocles, again developing him a little bit more, explaining his family history and digging deeper into his life and the way he is.

The female villain Artemisia felt a little bit forced to me — they needed someone strong, someone nasty and ugly, and it didn’t feel like an organic fit in this instance. I did like that they picked an attractive actress; it added another weapon to her battle arsenal. She wasn’t only a skilled combat warrior, but could also make men want her to their own peril.

Overall I give it a thumbs up, a seven on a scale of one to ten. There were eight years between the two movies, I wish they had done more with the sequel instead of relying on visual effects. 300: Rise of an Empire was a fun movie adventure, but don’t go to the theaters expecting academy-level acting. Go see it if you have the time, but you also won’t lose anything by waiting for the DVD rental.

Patrick Patterson is a forward for the Toronto Raptors. You can follow him on Twitter @pdpatt.

NBA Journal: Patrick Patterson

New Raptor Patrick Patterson takes in the sights at Ripley's Aquarium in Toronto.

New Raptor Patrick Patterson takes in the sights at Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto.

by Patrick Patterson, for NBA.com

Life has been busy since I last checked in with you all.  My NBA season began in Sacramento, but I am writing now as a Toronto Raptor!  Going through a trade and relocating mid-season is a challenge, but I am very excited about where I am.

There were a number of guys at my position on the Kings roster, and I felt like one of the guys who was currently injured would be the go to when he came back, so I was aware of the possibility of being traded.  I also had been hearing rumors about Toronto wanting to move Rudy Gay and had been reading about possible trades online.  I was at the movies with my mom when I received the call from my agent and life got busy from that moment.

I first had to go to the practice facility and grab the things I needed from my locker, like my shoes and a couple of t-shirts.  Then I had to go back to my apartment and pack up everything so I could move.  Clothes were the hardest to pack because it was nice and warm in Sacramento in the winter, and I was headed to Toronto where it was already really cold.  All of my winter clothes were in my house in Houston so I had to have them shipped to Toronto.  I ended up heading to the airport with about three or four suitcases to fly across country to start the next stage of my career.  Luckily, Chuck Hayes and John Salmons were on the flight with me so I wasn’t traveling alone.

As soon as I stepped off the plane, I could see the snow and feel the cold.  There were some people from the Raptors waiting to meet us, we did a few quick videos so the fans could get to know us, and then the transition in Toronto really began.

I have been living in a hotel as most traded players do right after a trade.  We are lucky as NBA players in so many ways, including that we usually eat as a team before and after every practice and game, so I haven’t had to worry too much about cooking.  Plus, there are a couple of restaurants around our hotel that are easy spots to go to and even a grocery store, so I can just walk downstairs if I need anything. For the past couple of days I’ve been looking at apartments and think I have found a new place to call home.

Skyline view of "really cold" Toronto.

Skyline view of “really cold” Toronto.

Toronto is a great city – I had no idea it was the fourth largest city in North America. The people here are great and have been extremely nice.  I have been trying to explore as much as I can but the winter here is brutal!  People rave about the spring and especially the summer, how lively the city becomes, so I am definitely looking forward to that.

Transitioning to a new team can sometimes be tough, but this whole process has gone really smoothly.  I already feel comfortable in the system and have the faith and confidence of the coaches and teammates.  An added plus is that I’m around a great bunch of guys including a few fellow Kentucky alums like our head coach, so it’s nice to be around the Kentucky brotherhood again.

One of the coolest things about the trade is that the Raptors were playing in Washington D.C. very soon after I joined the team, and that is where my mom’s side of the family is from.  I haven’t seen some of them in a long time so I just really wanted to play my best.  When the game was over, I could hear people yelling down the hallway and I already knew it was them. I turned the corner and there were about 30 – 35 of my family members grabbing my teammates for pictures as they walked by, and they went into a big uproar when they saw me.  Just to be able to see them and play well for them meant so much to me.

Here’s my #Patspicks Movie Review!

This week I saw “Paranormal Activity: Marked Ones”, and I have to say, it was a pretty big letdown.  I was expecting it to be scarier with more chilling moments that had you on the edge of your seat.  There were so many times in the first three movies where you wanted to close your eyes, but you were still so interested in what was happening next.  In this one, I felt like there were certain times when they were trying to do too much instead of just keeping it simple.  The demon and spirits in this one also seemed more geared towards a teenage audience. I wish they had just stuck to the formula from the previous movies because I really liked those.

Until the next post, follow me on Twitter and Instagram @pdpatt.

Player Diary: Patrick Patterson


VIDEO: Patterson on the Kings at media day

By Patrick Patterson, Sacramento Kings, for NBA.com

Summer Highlights

Ibiza

Ibiza

I felt great going into training camp after an amazing summer where I had the opportunity to travel to Spain and the island of Ibiza for about 10 days with some friends. We rented a beach house and enjoyed the perfect weather and the ocean – the water is the color of an Aquafina water bottle! One day we rented a boat, and I saw some of the biggest yachts I’ve ever seen in my life, like the kind you see on TV. Some of them even had helicopter landing pads! The food was great, and we ate seafood almost every single day. One restaurant on the island literally brought us fish on ice, and once you selected the fish you wanted, they would go cook it for you. Some days we missed American food, though, so checked out their KFC one night. Not only did they have chicken, but they also had sushi, pizza and pasta on the regular menu. The sushi was pretty weird if you ask me. And then another night we went to Burger King, and there was music playing and about 50 people dancing in the middle of the restaurant having a good time. So that was a new experience for us!

One of the highlights of our trip was seeing some great DJs who were out there performing. Famous DJs from all over the world, including David Guetta, Amici, Afrojack and Ghost, performed at different venues almost each night we were there. They play electronic/house music, which isn’t typically the kind of music I listen to, but it was a lot of fun to see them live. And we met a lot of interesting people from all over Europe.

Another great part of the summer was the Kentucky Alumni Charity Game. It was really special seeing my former teammates and being able to put on that Kentucky jersey in the Rupp Arena, where I hadn’t been in five years or so. Playing alongside some Kentucky legends, seeing all the fans … it brought back great memories of college basketball. And it benefitted some great charities. It was a lot of fun, and I hope we can do events like that together more often.

When I wasn’t vacationing or spending time with my family, I was training in Santa Barbara, which is about six hours from Sacramento. I worked out twice a day and was really focused on creating one-on-one scoring opportunities, improving my abilities around the basket, and I constantly worked on my jump shot and rebounding. I lived across the street from the beach, so I spent time out by the pool and beach and ate all kinds of Mexican food.

On The Move
After living in a hotel for the second half of last season, I finally moved in to an apartment and I’m still in the process of getting settled. Some of my stuff is put away, but there’s a bunch of items and clothes still in boxes … and more things en route. It will probably be another month or so before the apartment is finished. It took some time to get familiar with my surroundings, but now I know my way around pretty well. Luckily for me – a Chipotle addict – there’s a Chipotle a couple blocks away. I’ve been eating there every other day.

Back In Action
At the start of a new season, I always set new personal and team goals.  This is the first full season I am in Sacramento, and we are focused on a winning record and putting ourselves in a positive situation heading in to the end of the season and playoffs.  Personally, I am focused on my game getting better, becoming stronger in my role, and really helping my team succeed and achieve our goals.

The team has come together really well this year with great chemistry and strong relationships off the court.  We are always joking around and hangout with each other outside the gym.  I am really thankful to have my former Kentucky teammate DeMarcus Cousins on the team with me — he’s like my little brother.  It’s great to have that comfort of having a friend around and it’s just like old times for us.  Now the team just needs to translate that chemistry to the court so we can play better for each other and for our fans.  We have a strong core and a great nucleus of players and coaches, so I am confident that we will be successful.

Speaking of the fans, they have been showing so much support for us here in Sacramento.  They are at every single game, screaming and cheering as loud as they can.  Just this week the fans broke the Guinness World Record for Loudest Crowd Roar at an Indoor Stadium! It was so loud I had trouble hearing what coach was saying.


VIDEO: Kings fans get loud

Patrick’s Pick
Since I’m a pretty big movie buff, I thought it would be cool to recommend a different movie each time I blog. Hope you like my picks!

My first recommendation is “Man on Fire” starring Denzel Washington. It’s my all-time favorite movie! It’s an emotional movie with a great storyline, and overall, it’s a masterpiece. It was impactful on the film industry, as well as Denzel’s career, and it’s a must-see.

I’ll be doing a lot of Tweeting this season, so make sure to follow me @pdpatt.