TYPICAL of New York, Kristaps Porzingis was booed by Knicks fans at the Barclay Center after the Latvian was selected by the team at No. 4 during the 2015 NBA Draft on Thursday (Friday morning, Manila time).
And to make matter worse, a video of a kid crying right after Porzingis was picked went viral on social media.
But the 19-year-old Porzingis is unperturbed about all the negative response especially of Knicks fans, considered among the insensitive in the world.
“The booing fans would have booed whoever got drafted,” said Porzingis during Friday’s Cisco Telepresence with foreign reporters.
“But obviously, I could use that negative energy, those boos, and put that in work and use it as motivation to prove that I’m worthy to be a Knick and one day turn them into cheering fans,” he added.
The 6-foot-11 Latvian played for Cajasol Seville in the Spanish League, averaging 11.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.2 steals while capturing the 2014-2015 Eurocup Rising Star Trophy that same season.
This early, Porzingis is being compared by New York Knicks president of basketball operations Phil Jackson to his former player with the Los Angeles Lakers in Pau Gasol.
A disciple of the triangle offense, Jackson is expected to put an imprint of the system to the Knicks organization entering his first full season with the same franchise where he spent his playing years.
Porzingis said he is ready to take on the challenge of learning the system as well as playing for Jackson, whom he called a ‘legend.’
“I know the basics of it (triangle) but I still have to learn. A lot of movement, good passing. I think I’ll adjust well to it.
“I think Phil Jackson, he is a legend. I’m sure he will put me in a situation where I can succeed and be the best player possible. I’ll make sure to put in all the work and be the best player I can be. It’s a great opportunity to play for Phil Jackson,” said Porzingis.
Lastly, Porzingis is confident he will do well for his country.
“I’ll make Latvia proud,” he said.