Kristaps Porzingis fulfills childhood dream by going to Disneyland
As Kristaps Porzingis continues to grow into one of the biggest stars in the NBA, he had a chance to take time off from helping the Knicks playoff push to go to Disneyland while the team was on their recent West Coast road trip.
The story, which will soon appear in ESPN the Magazine (we can excuse the shameless company ESPN/Disney cross-promotion for the sake of Kristaps), started off with Kristaps yelling out, “Look, I peed my pants!”
Can you imagine Porzingis saying that with a wet crotch after riding a river rapids ride at Disneyland while he’s wearing Mickey Mouse ears and towering over everyone, and then singing out “Porzingis peed his pants, Porzingis peed his pants!?”
Porzingis is actually too big for some of the rides at Disneyland, which clearly bummed him out. “It must be nice to be short,” he told writer Sam Alipour, who stands at 5-7¼. No issues with getting on the rides with him.
Porzingis wanted to experience the magic of Disneyland ever since he was a kid at home in Latvia.
“It started with cartoons. My first memory is — how do you call it, Mickey Mouse? I was in Latvia when I saw Mickey on TV. And oh, Winnie the Pooh! That’s my guy. You want to see them in real life. That’s why it’s a dream for kids to come here. And look what they built — we’re grown men, and we’re still having fun here. It’s unbelievable. That’s one thing about Americans: They know how to have fun.”
After remarking at how the world is too small for him because of his height and how he’s having fun on spinning teacups while his teammates are bored in their hotel, Porzingis had a chance to spill his guts on much more than admiring Winnie the Pooh, such as what his favorite Disney movie is (The Lion King), the first English curse word he learned in the locker room (the F bomb), to stuff quite a bit heavier than that.
On learning English through movies:
“That’s how you learn. Every time you watch a movie, you pick up more stuff. I watched a lot of John Wick and Dinner for Schmucks, with the guy from The Office. I watched that over and over.”
On his perspective about the US being an immigrant:
“People are friendly. Not everywhere. New Yorkers aren’t that friendly, but they’re still pretty friendly, and they’re hardworking, passionate people. Another thing I like is that here in America, you can go somewhere else and nobody knows who you are or your past. In Latvia, everybody knows everybody and word spreads quickly, whatever happens. It’s a small place.”
Porzingis is still growing as a player and as a star, which is elevated playing in New York for the Knicks. There’s still quite a lot of the hype and hoopla that’s been beyond him. “Honestly, I don’t understand what is going on around me,” he said. “New York is a big stage, but I just play basketball, and I try to stay the same. That’s why it’s good to have my family around, so I don’t fly away.”
He had thoughts on Carmelo Anthony reportedly being unhappy with his selection at the time (though Melo certainly isn’t now), and whether he ever heard that from him: “No, he never told me that. He said from the beginning to me that he really liked my game, but he didn’t really know me. Now he’s a big brother, a mentor. He’s a really experienced player who knows the details of the game. Whatever I needed, I asked him, and he helped me out.”
Porzingis has set himself some pretty lofty goals, even though he’s only 21 and just in his second NBA campaign. “The ultimate goal is to win a ring. And I do have a thought in my head: a quadruple-double in a game — points, rebounds, assists, blocks. That’d be unbelievable. As I said, I don’t want to put limitations on myself. So maybe one day.” And as to whether he could one day average a triple-double: “Yeah, for sure. With 10 blocks. Why not?”
Porzingis’ development into a legitimate league-wide star and building block for a potential Knicks renaissance is becoming less and less surprising as time goes on, but Kristaps himself is keeping himself on the straight and narrow on the court, even if he can be a bit goofy off it.