Kristaps Porzingis is working his way back from a devastating knee injury. In February, just before the All-Star break, he tried to blame it on Giannis Antetokounmpo but came down wrong and tore his left ACL. Since his injury, Porzingis has been spending his time rehabbing (you can peep his IG story for his knee massages) and teaming up with a sports drink company.
With Kobe Bryant as one of its shareholders, Porzingis is expanding his portfolio off the court to include a partnership with BODYARMOR, the sports drink maker, and the 7'3" power forward is appearing in one of their commercials with some high-flying costars. He may even have a career in raising pigeons when he retires. I told him to holla at Mike Tyson after we talked about Fortnite, his rehab, and for a scouting report on the highly touted Latvian Luka Doncic in the upcoming NBA Draft is.
(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Have you been able to watch the playoffs?
A little bit. I'm back home now and the time difference is tough. I've been able to watch some of the earlier games. Games that start at 7:30 pm in America start at 2:30 am over here. It's pretty tough for Latvia to watch live NBA basketball, but we find a way.
Do you have any playoff predictions? Who do you think is going to win the Finals?
I really don't make any predictions. Whatever is happening, I wish I was there. That's the only thing I think about. I watch, I learn, I don't root for, or go against anybody.
What have you been doing when you're not rehabbing? Have you been playing Fortnite?
[Laughs.] No, not really. I've played a little of [PUBG], a similar game I guess. I've been super focused on rehab, making sure I do everything right. We have sessions two to three times a day, I've been eating right, all those things. Recovering my knee is my main focus right now.
Are you feeling positive about the rehab?
Yeah, it's going really good. I haven't really had any setbacks, it's feeling really good. I'm happy that I have a good support team helping me with this injury.
You were quoted as saying that you were putting your trust in the Knicks front office about picking a new head coach. Is there any particular style of play that you prefer?
I don't really have that much experience yet and every coach may have some things that you like. As I said, it's not in my hands and I don't want to think about things that I don't need to think about right now. The injury is the main thing for me, once I'm back then I'll go from there.
Are there any guys in this year's draft that you like? Maybe Luka Doncic?
From the draft, that's the player I know the best, seen the most, and I've played against. I know him personally. There's no college kid that would be able to put up those kinds of numbers at the highest levels in Europe, playing against professionals, grown men. And he's so young with such confidence, it's unbelievable.
How did you get involved with BODYARMOR?
I loved the product and they came to me with a great opportunity as a young entrepreneur who wants to be in business and learn stuff. I'm really happy with the success we're having with the brand right now and I'm excited about the future.
So you're being active and investing your money like LeBron, Carmelo, and those guys?
Of course. If you want to keep making money when you're done playing and so on then you can start early and learn those things. You have to have another plan for after basketball. It's something I want to learn and that I'm interested in.
Talk about the commercial, it's pretty funny.
Shooting it was a lot of fun, a good experience, it was Kobe's idea. At first he called me and let me know he had this idea and wanted to shoot it in L.A. But I wasn't able to fly over there because of my injury, so I thought it was pretty cool that the BODYARMOR team moved the shoot to New York. The whole process was pretty funny with all the pigeons and everything.
Raising pigeons is a New York thing, so it worked out. You have to talk to Mike Tyson, maybe you guys can raise some pigeons together.
[Laughs.] That might be a career for me after basketball, you never know.
Besides the commercial, have you been able get advice from Kobe about basketball related things?
Every time he's called me about BODYARMOR, I tried to steal a little bit of his time by asking questions and listening to whatever he has to say. I've been lucky.