Porzingis: 'I'm not Shawn Bradley'

Shawn Bradley is not Kristaps Porzingis' role model. Getty Images

NEWARK, N.J. -- New York Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis said he was “fired up” after hearing team president Phil Jackson compare him to Shawn Bradley.

He thought Jackson may have made the Bradley comparison to motivate him.

“I guess that’s what Phil does, gets guys to work hard and [get fired] up. That fired me up. ‘I’m like, I’m not Shawn Bradley, you know,’” Porzingis said on Wednesday from a company here that is providing him with a custom mattress to fit his 7-foot-1 frame.

Porzingis admitted he wasn’t entirely sure what Jackson meant by the comparison but he’s well aware that Jackson has used his words to motivate players.

“He knows what he’s doing,” the rookie said. Porzingis didn’t seem offended or upset by Jackson’s comments -- just motivated.

“I want to be better than Shawn Bradley, obviously, and be stronger than him, but I’m a different player," he said.

Jackson told Charley Rosen that he was a bit worried that Porzingis would be compromised by his height, just as the 7-6 Bradley was during his career.

"Like Shawn Bradley, who was nevertheless a pretty good player, KP might almost be too tall for the game,” Jackson told Rosen. “What I mean is that his core strength might never be good enough, and that he might not be able to get low enough to get himself into prime defensive position to body power rebounders or drivers."

Porzingis has worked to add weight over the summer. He says he has added 11 pounds so far and hopes to add four more before training camp begins at the end of the month. He was 230 pounds on the night of the NBA draft, when the team selected him with the No. 4 pick.

Porzingis is lifting weights twice a day between on-court workouts and eating at least 5,000 calories per day, which was a goal set by a Knicks nutritionist.

Asked what he has been eating, Porzingis replied, “Everything.”

“The basic thing that she told me was don’t ever have an empty stomach. If you eat after two hours you have to eat again. [Eat] yogurt, something in your stomach. So that’s what I’ve been following and I think it’s pretty successful. I'm gaining some weight,” Porzingis said.

Bed time: Porzingis was at the Shifman Mattress Company in Newark on Tuesday to tour the factory. The company will provide Porzingis a hand-made custom mattress to fit his frame. The hand-made mattress Porzingis chose is 80 inches wide by 98 inches long, 18 inches longer than a standard king. It's also the longest mattress the company has made in its 120-year history.

"Congratulations, Kris," Shifman president Bill Hammer said with a laugh.

Porzingis said, growing up, he had to get creative to find sleeping positions that allowed him to fit on traditional bed frames. He’s looking forward to stretching out on his new mattress.

“Since I was 15 and I was about 6-8 I couldn’t really fit in a normal mattress,” Porzingis said. “Obviously I need a bigger mattress so this will be great.”

Shifman previously made custom-sized mattresses for Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo.