Liepaja

NY Knicks & Liepāja

12 Sep 2018
Although Latvians have fought hard to cultivate the notion that they’re diehard hockey fans, recently locals have been watching a lot of basketball, neighbouring Lithuania’s undisputed national sport. Why the sudden switch you might ask? Well, don’t get too excited. Latvians’ love for their hip-checking heroes is still undiminished, but a 2.2m (7ft, 3in)-tall man by the name of Kristaps Porziņģis has locals watching late-night NBA games in unprecedented numbers. So who is the youth that Knicks fans call Porzee (for obvious reasons)? He shocked NBA fans around the globe when he was chosen by the Knicks in 2015 as the 4th pick of the entire draft. New Yorkers were livid that the coach had ‘squandered’ their pick on an unknown quantity, that is, of course, until he started playing. Once he began dunking, rebounding and nailing 3-pointers the tide quickly turned and it’s a rare week when Porzee doesn’t make the NBA’s top 10 plays of the week. Even hoops icon Magic Johnson tweeted ‘Knicks fans should applaud @PhilJackson11 for getting the steal of the draft in @kporzee!’ and Kobe Bryant obviously concurred when he posted this comment on Instagram: ‘Keep working, young fella. You’ve got a bright future.’ And if you're wondering what his connection to Liepāja is, it's no secret. He was born and raised in this Latvian city by the sea and even donated a basketball court to Liepāja in 2016. Unfortunately, after an injury and surgery, KP as he's also known will be riding the pine until he recovers. Photos courtesy of Kristaps Porziņģis on Facebook

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