Kristaps Porzingis sat down for an interview with ESPN.com to talk about the young season, the New York Knicks’ potential to reach the playoffs, life without Carmelo Anthony and his new partnership with Zing Bars, a nutritional bar company in which Porzingis has invested.
Q: There are so many new faces here this season. No Phil Jackson, no Carmelo Anthony. What's been different so far this year compared to the last two seasons?
A: I would say it’s a different vibe, a new vibe. A lot of new minds in new positions and a lot of new guys, players that want to play their best basketball that want to compete. That’s what’s most important. We’re going out there and we’re playing hard, especially on the defensive end.
Q: We asked you a lot in the preseason what life would be like without Carmelo. Now that we're several games into the season, what has it been like for you without Carmelo on the court?
A: It’s obviously different, you know. He was the main guy and he was the leader of the team. It’s much different. For me, obviously wanted him to stay around and to keep learning from him, but I’m happy for him that he took on a new challenge to go to OKC and I’ve been staying in contact with him and he’s saying he’s happy. It’s a different environment there, and for him I think it’s a good step in his career.
Q: So much talk around the team has been about progression over the course of the year. Do you think if everything continues to go well this team can make the playoffs?
A: I believe so. I said it before the season started and now I'm seeing that just by being hungry out there on the floor, you can win games. We just have to keep playing the same way, keep practicing, keep playing with the same intensity and same hunger and I believe we’re a playoff team.
Q: How important would it be for you to play in those meaningful games late in the season, which hasn't been the case in your first two seasons?
A: That would be huge. It’s the first step to achieve what I want to achieve in my career, which is a championship. And playoff experience is valuable experience.
Q: What's it been like so far to be the face of this franchise?
A: I’m just enjoying things right now, but my life is about basketball. I think about basketball pretty much all the time. Everything else doesn’t matter that much. I’m just looking to recover, so I can be fresh for the next one. That’s the only thing I think about. For me, I enjoy playing in this city, it’s the best city in the world. To me, it’s the best city in the world.
Q: You have so many endorsement opportunities as a star athlete in New York. Why did you choose Zing Bar?
A: For me, I always want to be with a company that I'm involved with and I actually love myself. Zing Bar has been a part of my day every day. I also want to be with a company where I can learn about the business. So when I was making this decision, I knew I just wanted to be involved as much as possible.
Q: Do you allow yourself to think about what things could be like in New York if/once things get turned around and the Knicks are competitive again?
A: Of course. That moment enters my mind. I like to visualize. I like to fantasize a little bit about it. I believe if you visualize things, things that you want to achieve, it can happen. I know this place will go crazy if it happens, so I’m excited.