Before returning to his Baltic homeland for a quick vacation, future five-time MVP and light of my life Kristaps Porzingis sat down with Bleacher Report's Jared Zwerling for a comprehensive interview. The lanky Latvian gave us insights into teammates, basketball terminology and steak preferences. The results were predictably charming and awesome.
Come with me now, as I take you on a fantastic voyage into Zinger's Brain.
- 7eave it to Carmelo Anthony to send congratu7atory texts with his own particu7ar f7air:
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.
Porzingis noted that it will be great to have a chance to be around Melo to see, among other things, "how he dresses," which we can only hope leads to Krispy rocking at least one of these:
MY JUMPER GAME MEAN, MY POST UP GAME MEAN, MY HEADWEAR GAME IS SUPERB AND YOUR HAT IS TRASH - Funk Master Melo pic.twitter.com/bf0cENnBxH— Rikki! Ricky! Rikke! (@rwxoxo) January 20, 2015
Personally, I'd go with the "Willy Wonka in Space" look.
- He's already well acquainted with America's two defining characteristics...wandering drunks and meat:
Janis and I walked the Vegas strip, and there are so many random people. Some were drunk, and some were giving me nightclub passes. Vegas is actually the first city I went to when I came to the U.S. last summer, when I trained at Impact Basketball gym with Joe Abunassar. My first night in Vegas, after my airline baggage got lost, I had my first filet mignon at Caesars Palace, and it's now one of my favorite foods because it's healthy.
I like steak because it's healthy. Give this kid a green card right now!
- He might be willing to challenge Damian Lillard for the NBA rap crown, but not in English:
Damian Lillard is actually a good rapper. Maybe in Latvian one day I'll rap a little bit, but definitely not in English. I like freestyle battles. I love the show Sway In The Morning.
I think I speak for everyone when I say that I look forward to Zingis Khan's Latvian rap career more than I do the birth of my first child. Also, between Melo and Sway, his role models certainly do not lack for head gear.
- If you're looking for any red flags, here's a fairly disturbing conversation:
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.
Typical KG: buttering up a young foreign kid so he'll never expect the elbow to the throat coming off one of Garnett's legendary moving screens. You stay away from him, Kristaps! He's a bad, bad man.
- Oh, and here's some basketball-related stuff:
I think with time, I will learn where I can attack and where I will have good position. But I'm feeling more confident and comfortable every time the team plays together. I actually love the Triangle because it's how I play—pick-and-pop, make plays for others and have my shot. The better you know the Triangle, the better you will make better plays. We're all still learning.
In Europe, we called it "blue" on defense when a point guard steps on the side and then the big helps down, like icing a pick-and-roll to the sideline. Here, it's "push." And in a middle pick-and-roll, here it's "weak" because you force the opponent to his weak hand. Just different names, but the same stuff.
One year removed from the Mike Woodson Experience, I still find it weird that New York defenders would yell anything on defense other than "switch." I'm very happy Woody will never coach this kid.
Porzingis showed off his preternatural basketball IQ during Summer League, and I have little doubt he'll pick up these little nuances of the American game quicker than most. He is a genius and a winner!