Remember when reporters like Stephen A. Smith were filing stories about how disappointed Carmelo Anthony was with the Knicks’ decision to draft Kristaps Porzingis? Of course you do. Carmelo caught so much heat for the initial reports in the days after the 2015 NBA Draft that he was forced to tweet about how much he liked the pick and even talked to TMZ Sports about it.

“I really love him,” he said at the time. “I feel him.”

Sports Illustrated just published a long feature on Porzingis, though, and as it turns out, a lot of his Knicks’ teammates weren’t so sure about him when the team first drafted him. Outside of the obvious concerns that all pro players have about young guys, players like Lance Thomas told SI’s Lee Jenkins that they thought Porzingis might be too soft. But he quickly changed a lot of their minds during summer runs. And Carmelo realized just how special he was going to be early in the fall.

Carmelo talked to Jenkins about Porzingis and told him that, over the summer, Porzingis impressed him with the way he put in work in the gym. But he wasn’t completely sold on him until they worked out in the fall and Porzingis told him about the time he had cornrows.

“After that I was like, ‘All right, OK, I’m riding with you from now on,’” Carmelo told SI. “The kid has an aura about him.”

He definitely does. But of all things, that was what Carmelo loved most about him early on? Ha. The entire SI piece provides a great look at how and why Porzingis has made such a big impact in the league already. Check it out here.

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[via Sports Illustrated]