Childhood & Early Life
Kristaps Porzingis was born into a family of sportsmen and women on August 2, 1995 in Liepaja, Latvia. He started playing at a very young age and was aptly guided by his parents and his older brother Janis Porzingis, who was already a professional player. Kristaps started playing competitive basketball during his early teens, when he represented one of the most famous basketball clubs in Liepaja, ‘BK Liepajas Lauvas.’
Kristaps Porzingis started grabbing the attention of many as soon as he started playing for the club and was eventually noticed by ‘Baloncesto Sevilla,’ a club associated with the popular Spanish tournament ‘Liga ACB.’ Though Porzingis could not deliver his absolute best due to his suffering from anemia, he nevertheless received a contract in 2010 in order to represent the junior squad of ‘Baloncesto Sevilla.’
He then started playing for the ‘Sevilla’ junior team throughout 2012 and 2013. Meanwhile, on September 29, 2012 he was presented with an opportunity to play for ‘Cajasol Sevilla,’ which was to play at ‘Liga ACB.’ After making a few fruitless appearances for the senior team, Porzingis scored his first basket on February 20, 2013.
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Playing for the senior team, Kristaps Porzingis started his career on a positive note. He played well throughout 2013, exhibiting both offense and defense quite effectively. As a result, he was named in the ‘ACB All-Young Players Team’ in May 2014. On October 15, he made his debut appearance at the ‘EuroCup,’ which is a transnational competition for basketball clubs in Europe.
He played extremely well throughout ‘EuroCup,’ helping his team to secure several victories in the competition. Thanks to his impressive performances, Porzingis was honored with the ‘EuroCup Rising Star Award’ on April 15, 2015. In the following month, he was once again named in the ‘ACB All-Young Players Team.’
After his ‘EuroCup’ success, he made himself available for the 2014 NBA draft after drawing interest from teams, such as ‘Orlando Magic.’ However, he withdrew his name days before the draft, saying that he was not prepared enough to be playing in the NBA. He also said that he needed time to develop his skills for the subsequent draft.
Porzingis eventually entered the 2015 draft amid talks that compared him with the likes of Darko Milicic, Pau Gasol, and Dirk Nowitzki. On June 25, he was picked by the ‘New York Knickerbockers,’ commonly known as the ‘Knicks.’ Defying many odds, Porzingis became the highest drafted Baltic and Latvian player in the history of NBA.
He made his debut NBA appearance on October 28, 2015, when he played against ‘Milwaukee Bucks.’ In the game, he scored a total of 16 points helping his team to a 122 – 97 victory over the ‘Bucks.’ On November 21, 2015, he became the first 20-year-old since Shaquille O’Neal to post an impressive stat line of 24 points, seven blocked shots, and 14 rebounds against ‘Houston Rockets.’
On December 3, he was declared as the ‘Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month’ taking into account the games which he played in the months of October and November. He then went on to receive the same title for the months of December and January as well. In 2016, he took part in the ‘Rising Stars Challenge’ and secured 30 points for his side. Throughout the 2015–16 season Porzingis appeared in a total of 72 games for the ‘Knicks,’ despite missing the last seven games because of a shoulder strain.
He started off the subsequent season on a positive note. However, issues pertaining to injuries marred his performance at the end of the season. After facing a few defeats in 2017, he came back strongly on November 5, 2017, when he scored 40 points in a single game. By doing so, he became the first NBA player since the 1983–84 season to score 40 points with five blocks, five rebounds, and two 3-pointers.
In 2017, he was also selected to represent his national team at the 40th edition of the ‘EuroBasket’ championship. Though he began the 2017–18 season on a positive note, he injured his left ACL in a game against ‘Milwaukee Bucks,’ post which he was ruled out for the remaining season. With some stunning achievements so far in his career, Porzingis is already considered to be one of the best players in NBA history.
Kristaps Porzingis is close to his older brother Janis Porzingis. Though both his parents were once basketball players, it was Janis who showed keen interest in his brother’s development. When Kristaps was young, Janis acted as his mentor and did everything he could to make sure his brother excelled in the game.
Kristaps has another brother named Martins, who too, is an avid player of basketball. In 2017, a documentary on Porzingis was released by ‘E:60,’ a popular American sports newsmagazine. The documentary revealed that Kristaps had another brother named Toms, who died in infancy.
Thanks to the number of years spent playing for Spanish basketball clubs, Kristaps Porzingis can now fluently speak Spanish, along with Latvian and English languages. Apart from basketball, he also likes playing and watching soccer. ‘Real Madrid CF,’ ‘Sevilla FC,’ and his home team ‘FK Liepaja’ are some of his favorite soccer teams.
Kristaps is also a gamer, who loves playing ‘Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.’ He also likes spending his time online as he is active on various social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. While he has managed to accumulate more than 330,000 followers on his Twitter account, his Instagram page has gathered more than 1.6 million followers.
Kristaps has always been associated with major brands, such as ‘Nike’ and ‘Adidas.’ He ended his long-term collaboration with ‘Nike’ in order to partner with ‘Adidas.’ In October 2016, he signed a major deal with ‘Adidas,’ which became the most lucrative deal signed by any European player.