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Knicks' Kristaps Porzingis talk to Long Island kids on move to NBA

Kidsday reporters Nate Harvey, Sam Gibbs and Jarrett

Kidsday reporters Nate Harvey, Sam Gibbs and Jarrett Nagengast, all from the Saltaire Fire Island Camp spend a few minutes with New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis was the 4th pick in the draft and played ball in Spain before being drafted by the Knicks. Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

We met New York Knicks first-round draft pick Kristaps Porzingis at the Knicks training facility in Westchester recently. Last season, Kristaps, the 7-foot, 1-inch forward, played for Sevilla in the European League.

Has it been difficult to adapt to the NBA's style of play?

It's different but I wouldn't say difficult. I watched a lot of NBA when I was a kid. Growing up and wanted to be one of the players. So I kind of know what it's going to be like playing, but for some leaguers it's their first experience and will take some time to adjust. I'll get there.

Is there any way speaking three languages helps you on the court?

Sure, for example now my teammate Jose Calderon. He speaks Spanish so we'll be able to speak Spanish with him. The other team doesn't understand us.

What do you want to see the most in New York?

I don't know. The city is beautiful. I haven't seen anything yet. I'm just looking forward to see the city and there's a lot of tourism here. Just see everything.

Will you be cheering for the Mets or Yankees?

I don't know. I'm not a big baseball guy.

Why didn't you enter the 2014 draft?

Because I knew once I signed up for the draft I wasn't going to stay there. They wanted me to stay one more year in Spain. Just to draw more attention. That was it.

On the court is there a lot of trash talk that goes on?

In Spain a little bit, but not too much. I think it's more an American thing. In some there's no trash talk at all but maybe during the regular season.

Why did you choose the uniform number 6?

Why? Because I played with 6 before. I chose number 6 because my brother used to wear number 6.

Why did you want to play for New York rather than any other team?

It was my dream to play for New York. It's a basketball city, all the fans, they're a little tough sometimes but they want you to play good and if you win games then they love you.

What are your goals for the season?

Have a good season, want to win games and earn my minutes on the board. Just play hard and win games.

What did you do after signing for the Knicks?

I celebrated with my family. Went out to dinner and that was it. It was a special moment. It was a dream come true for me to sign for the Knicks.

What were your emotions when your fans were booing you when your name was called at the draft?

Just try to be calm and have it not bother you too much. You know how fans are. I want to turn those boos into cheers.


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