While the history of the entire New York Knicks franchise does not essentially equate to its current success, the Knicks have always cultivated a fairytale-like story for their fans and the NBA world. From the home greeting for Carmelo Anthony, to the rise and fall of Linsanity, the Knicks have always found a way to turn the game of basketball to a moment of glory. After the Knicks abysmal 2014-2015 year with an astonishing 17-65 record, the fans were enthralled with the chance to attain a new name to the franchise. Names such as Justise Winslow or Jahlil Okafor were the talk of the town. Instead of going for the Blue Duke Devil boys, the Knicks went international with the Latvian sensation, Kristaps Porzingis.
As the fourth round pick and a red carpet to the NBA, Kristaps Porzingis was showered with jeers, cries, and various YouTube videos of fans turning their back on their team. For the Knicks, this draft, while not first, was a moment for them to return to greatness. It was a chance for them to attain someone worthy of carrying out the dynasty. Instead, they picked the seven-foot skinny no name that only professionally played in the Spanish basketball league. However, even with the criticism and from critics and fans alike, Porzingis, the tall kid with a difficult last name to pronounced, looked beyond the denunciations and did what he was meant to do, play ball.
Since the age of six, basketball was the world to Porzingis. He played in various youth competitions in his hometown of Liepaia when he was 15 years old until an agent from Latvia sent various promotional videos of his skill, pace, and of course height teams in Spain and Italy. Even though there were some sloppy moments during his tryouts, Porzingis was still able to land a contract with Sevilla’s junior squad. Still more obstacles were to come. In 2010, Porzingis was diagnosed with anemia meaning that he had fewer red blood cells. This auto-immune disease caused the Latvian star to feel fatigue, shortness of breath, and worn out after practices and games. Even with these hurdles, Porzingis was able to come, adapt, and overcome all of his hurdles.
On June 25th, 2015, Porzingis experienced a new hurdle, the hurdle of New York. After being selected in the first draft, fourth overall, fans became disheartened and disgruntled by the seven foot three no name. Many critics and coaches claimed the boy was simply too skinny and inexperienced for the strength and speed of the NBA. Some even said he did not belong. But even with the hate, Porzingis used it as motivation to prove to the world that he belonged.
With the Knick 2015-2016 season, the rookie big man Porzingis change the tides of the current by hitting incredible numbers for his starting year. His height, length, shooting ability, guard, and athleticism of a forward have shined the light on what he brings to the team. In addition, the wins and glory have made him an international NBA sensation all throughout the world. While this moment may feel like Linsanity all over again, the 21st century Knicks fandom is not having too much affect on Porzingis. For him, it is about the foundation and development of the game. His skill level is high and his composure, intelligence, teamwork, and most importantly, his hunger is evident that he will make a long lasting player for the Knicks.