Kristaps Porzingis grew up in Latvia idolizing Kobe Bryant, but it’s hard to emulate the game of a 6’6 guard when you’re a 7’3 forward, so Porzingis looked to another of his heroes for inspiration – Dirk Nowitzki.
So, during the fourth quarter of the Knicks game against the Mavericks at Madison Square Garden, Porzingis decided to pay tribute to the future Hall-of-Famer, who was sitting on the bench still recovering from a sore right Achilles. Porzingis has appeared to master the German’s patented step-back jumper off one leg.
Porzingis busts out the Dirk fade. pic.twitter.com/BV6jDdX9rx
— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) November 15, 2016
After hitting the shot Porzingis took a moment to look down the Mavs’ bench right at Nowitzki.
“He was staring me down. That was cold-blooded,” said Nowitzki post-game.
Nowitzki went on to praise the young Knicks’ star and his versatile game.
“He’s not only a 7-footer but he is like 7-4 out there with an 8-5 wingspan,” he added. “He’s got an incredible touch. He can move. He can dribble. He can put it on the floor more now. He is going to be a great player in this league for a long, long time.”
Porzingis appears to have already learned from watching Nowitzki, but according to Knicks’ coach Jeff Hornacek, the two Europeans were supposed to work out with each other this past summer, but scheduling conflicts prevented the duo from doing so.
“I love the kid,” Nowitzki said prior to Monday’s game. “I really wanted to train with him over the summer, but it didn’t work out.”
Nowitzki says he hopes the two players can get together next summer.
“I am a huge fan of his game. Obviously the sky is the limit for him,” Nowitzki said. “He’s got the deep ball. He’s got the in-between game. He is working on his post-ups. He is the real deal.”
Feature image credit: USA Today.