Kristaps Porzingis: “I feel like me and Luka were really getting in a good rhythm playing with each other”

Kristaps Porzingis

Dallas Mavericks star Kristaps Porzingis talked about what he’s been up to in quarantine, his love of boxing and MMA, being teammates with 14-time NBA All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs’ reaction to hearing of the NBA season’s suspension during their game with the Denver Nuggets.

On what he’s been up to while in quarantine …

Porzingis: “I try to do what I can. I have a little room with a lot of the stuff that I use to stay in shape. … I have a little weight room here, a bike and stuff so I can do some cardio and I do a little bit of boxing, I try to work on my boxing skills, too. … We don’t know when we’re going to restart everything so I’m just making sure I do the max I can to stay in shape and stay ready.”

On some hobbies he’s trying to pick up with all the extra time …

Porzingis: “I’m trying to build up the patience to read. That’s been something that I’ve had trouble with, but I think I’m getting better [at] reading books. I love boxing, I’ve always been a big fan of boxing and martial arts, so I’m keeping myself entertained and doing a little bit of that myself here at home. Just little things that I like and I’m a YouTube guy, so I’m on YouTube just watching videos and learning new stuff. Like I said, just trying to keep myself busy.”

On his love of boxing and mixed martial arts …

Porzingis: “I’ve always been a big fan of Mike Tyson. … Also now with the MMA scene growing and Conor McGregor making it a mainstream sport, I also became a big fan of MMA and that’s something I would also love to work on a lot in the offseason once I’m not playing. So, we’ll see. I don’t know when, but I’ve always been interested in combat sports.”

On what profession he would have pursued if not basketball …

Porzingis: “There’s a lot of things that I’m interested in, it’s just I don’t know if I have the talent or capability of doing that. As I said, boxing, MMA, I probably wouldn’t be a great fighter. But that’s something if I was a different body type or whatever, I probably would’ve loved to do. Outside of sports, I’m really interested in business and entrepreneurship. That’s something I probably would’ve studied much deeper.”

On what the Mavs’ trainers have done for the team in quarantine …

Porzingis: “They made a plan for us. We have an app that we can go on and we can have the workouts there and we don’t really have to do anything, we can just follow the workout and do our work and they made it really simple for us. I’m just doing what I’m supposed to.”

On if the team is keeping in touch …

Porzingis: “We have the group chat going on. We pretty much text each other daily. Everybody’s bored. … I think we’re going to have a group call tonight as a team also. I’m sure that will help us keep our spirits up.”

On being teammates with Dirk Nowitzki last season …

Porzingis: “Just his presence in the locker room and around the team. Everybody loves him. Just to see his energy and see his passion still and motivation at that age, at that point of his career, still putting in the work before practice, it was pretty crazy to see, actually. That just shows what type of person he is, what type of work ethic he had throughout his career. It definitely gave me more motivation, more hunger to keep working and to try to emulate things he’s done in his career to be such a great player.”

On the situation in Spain…

Porzingis: “It’s a tough situation, and I don’t understand a lot about what’s going on. But what I can say is it’s important for people to just follow the guidelines. Whatever people that understand this whole situation are telling you to do, that’s what we should all do, and I think that’s going to help us beat this situation or get past this situation as fast as possible. For the people of Spain, stay strong and make sure you do the right thing.”

On the Mavericks’ reaction to the news of the NBA’s suspension during their game vs. the Nuggets …

Porzingis: “We all were kind of in shock. At that point, I didn’t realize the magnitude of this whole situation. It was kind of a shock.”

On Mark Cuban leading the charge in helping those impacted by COVID-19 …

Porzingis: “We have a great leader in Mark who’s pushing all of this, who’s making sure people around us are taken care of. That’s what he does and I think that’s why the city of Dallas loves him so much. And I’m sure we’ll keep doing good stuff for the people around the organization and in the city.”

On how things are in his native country of Latvia …

Porzingis: “The situation in Latvia is good. I’m making sure daily that mom and dad are good and just away from people and make sure they stay safe. We stay in touch every day. I miss my family, miss my parents. Hopefully, I get to see them soon.”

On what he’s most excited to get back to when things are back to normal …

Porzingis: “Probably just playing at home, playing in front of our fans again and having fun out there. I feel like me and Luka were really getting in a good rhythm playing with each other right before this whole thing happened and hopefully, we can get back to that as soon as possible.”

Kristaps Porzingis was speaking as part of NBA Together, a global community and social engagement campaign that aims to support, engage, educate and inspire youth, families, and fans in response to the coronavirus pandemic.