“I got to stick to what got me here. The grittiness, doing the things that nobody tends to want to do every night, dive on the floor, do the dirty work, set dirty screens, set nice screens to get somebody open. Those are the things that got me here and I like doing.”
Old School Entry
“All through high school, I practiced from June to September, four days a week, three hours a day; from September to March, I practiced three four hours a day Monday through Friday and five hours a day on Saturday and Sunday. In the fall, before basketball season began, I ran along the streets in town, through fields, over railroad tracks, down to the banks of the Mississippi and back. To improve my vertical leap, I wore weights in my shoes and jumped to touch the rim for four sets of fifteen jumps each, with alternating hands.”
Steve Serby of the New York Post sat down with New York Knicks rookie, Kristaps Porzingis:
I love what this kid says. What he stands for and his outlook.
Q: Tell Knicks fans why you won’t be a bust.
A: I think what sets me apart from those busts is that I love the game so much. However my career’s gonna start — I’m gonna be playing, not playing — I’m gonna have my mentality, just my work ethic, keeping that same discipline every day, just working until my moment comes. … I’m a student of the game. I will try to make my career as long as possible, for me it’s not about money, so, I just love playing the game.
Q: What is your definition of greatness?
A: Being a professional for a long time on and off the court. Not just being a professional, but you gotta be a great player on the court, and then just doing all the right things off the court. Just interacting with your fans, just having a fan base. … How you carry yourself off the court, that’s very important. And then the dedication on the court … those hours when nobody’s watching you when you’re working by yourself in the gym — that’s what separates good from great.
Q: Describe your mentality on the court.
A: How I prepare myself for the games is I want to be aggressive, I want to attack, I want to get fouled. That’s the thing I always go through before a game. But then I think about: If it doesn’t go my way, what are the things that I can do to help a team, get rebounds, get blocks, stuff that just working on the court you can get even if you’re not making shots.
On a loss to the New York Knicks:
“We didn’t respect the game, we didn’t respect our opponent. It was a pathetic performance and I hope that every player is embarrassed. Not because ‘we are supposed to win the game’ but it is about how you play the game.”
On the Triangle Offense:
“It’s really hard to run the triangle with bad players because most bad players don’t understand the game. You’re not going to win with bad players running any system. But with the triangle you particularly have to have intelligent players who can be patient. And I’m not talking about math intelligence. I’m talking about basketball intelligence.”
“Winning seems like it’s so far removed from where we are, but it’s really not. It’s easy for us to forget that. When you only see the success part of people’s journey, you forget about days they experienced before success. Before you get into position of success, you have failed and made mistakes. The ones who are winning and successful still keep their chin up and work through this. Other people give up. We’re talking about not giving up and becoming a winner. Even though we’re not there now, we will be if we don’t give up on the process. Whether succeeding or not, trying to bring mindset to each day to find ways to get better on what you’re doing. That’s challenging in the face of struggle. I think the guys have done a good job of that — honestly. We’ve been competitive. That just doesn’t mean we’ve gotten wins. In this business that’s the final result is whether you won or lost, you got to get wins in order to feel better on what we’re doing.’’
“I can bring a good attitude, good work ethic, be a good teammate, be a good defensive player.”