Some NBA rookies work on their game by creating their own secret routine. While most newbies utilize their team’s training staff, Kristaps Porzingis wanted to be unique. Aside from the help of the trainers, the former New York Knicks rookie studied the style of some of the world’s greatest athletes.
Not your ordinary rookie
Back in 2015, Porzingis took New York by storm by providing some extra punch on the offensive end. Towering at 7-foot-3, “Porzingod” became an instant co-star of then-Knicks marquee player Carmelo Anthony.
At the time, the Knicks organization was pleased to have landed such a versatile 20-year-old in Porzingis, who wasn’t content with just being a talented player. According to former Knicks GM Steve Mills, Porzingis was very eager to explore “every aspect of getting better.”
For instance, Mills said that Porzingis wouldn’t be satisfied with some intense leg day workouts. Instead, he would kick things up a notch by trying to learn how star athletes from distant sports work their magic. And it went as far as studying how legendary sprinter Usain Bolt runs.
“One day I went by him, and [Porzingis] was in the cold plunge [pool] and he was on his phone, and I went over to see what he was doing,” Mills told New York Post. “He was watching Usain Bolt videos on running techniques…He is that diligent in terms of trying to understand every aspect of his body, every aspect of getting better and stronger. He’s a unique guy in that regard, and it will allow him to become the best player he can.”
Is the future still bright for Kristaps?
Though it’s quite hard to tell, studying Bolt’s running techniques may have contributed to the overall development of Porzingis. From averaging 14.3 points per outing in his first 72 games in the league, “Zinger” improved it to 18.1 in his second season with the Knicks. And in his third year in the NBA, Porzingis became an All-Star.
At that point in his career, Porzingis’ will to always be at his best was beginning to be acknowledged.
“I’ve spoken to someone who’s trained Kristaps Porzingis,” ESPN’s Dave McMenamin said. “He has trained other NBA stars, MVP’s, All-Stars. He said he (Porzingis) is truly special, ‘I believe he will be in the Hall of Fame.’”
Despite his commitment to staying healthy, Porzingis has never completed a full season in the NBA. He even missed an entire campaign due to an ACL injury. Hopefully, he finally has a healthy season and shows some Usain Bolt moves on the court.