The Spotlights On: Kristaps Porzingis

Kristaps Porziņģis is a Latvian professional basketball player who currently plays for the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association. He was selected by the Knicks with the fourth overall pick of the 2015 NBA draft.

Porziņģis followed his parents' footsteps and started to play basketball at age 6. He played in youth competition with BK Liepājas Lauvas, the most famous club based in hometown of Liepāja, until he was 15 years old. An agent from Latvia sent video of him around this time to teams in Spain and Italy.In 2010, Baloncesto Sevilla, a club that had a professional team competing in the Liga ACB in Spain, called Porziņģis for a tryout in an attempt to recruit foreign talent to its junior squads. He stood 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) and weighed 157 lbs (71 kg) at this time. Porziņģis recalled the moment and said, "I came here with my brother for two or three days, but it was really hot and I couldn't play at my best because of that. Still, I received a contract in summer 2010 and I signed it." Inmaculada Avivar, a nutritionist for Sevilla, diagnosed that Porziņģis was suffering from anemia, meaning that he had fewer red blood cells. This caused him to feel fatigue, shortness of breath, and inability to exercise. Nevertheless, he gradually overcame the condition and began seeing improvement in his game. In addition to his medical problems, Porziņģis had trouble picking up the language in Seville, making him reluctant to return there after his first tryout. In his first season playing for the junior squad, he struggled to communicate with the coaching staff and his teammates and was often sleepy due to his health.

On December 7, in a loss to the Dallas Mavericks, Porziņģis led a fourth-quarter charge and finished with a game-high 28 points, facing off against fellow European big man Dirk Nowitzki.

The 1st head to head match with Dirk Nowitzki at MSG footage below:

On June 25, 2015, Porziņģis was selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft by the New York Knicks. He was booed by the New York crowd upon being drafted, but vowed to change the fans' opinions on him from negative to positive. On the same night, the New York Knicks traded for Porziņģis' teammate from Sevilla, Guillermo Hernangómez, who was originally drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers as a 35th overall pick. Porziņģis became the highest drafted Latvian and Baltic player in NBA history.