Sportress of Blogitude

Kristaps Porzingis pleased with success translating to Twitter fame


Fresh off a 29-point, 11-rebound performance that further raised his already-blossoming national profile, New York Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis acknowledged one of the many benefits from his rapidly rising-star status is it’s tremendous impact of his popularity on social media.

The 19-year-old phenom from Latvia increased his Twitter base by an astounding 15,000 followers in one day as a result of his much ballyhooed 29-point, 11-rebound performance in the Knicks’ 102-94 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday.

“Social media is going crazy, getting more followers and stuff,’’ Porzingis observed, via the New York Post. “I tweeted a picture after the game. I was active to keep the momentum going.’’

His Twitter follower count is up to over 73,000 as of Thursday morning.

It’s hardly surprising someone of Porzingis’ mindset, personality and worldview measures success through social media. After all, this is a guy who said he rocked cornrows as a kid because “all the girls loved it.”

Despite the sudden rise of “Kristaps-mania” — not to confused with “Linsanity,’ which afflicted Knicks fans a few years back — Porzingis insists that even though he’s enjoying every minute, he’s trying to keep the early-season success in perspective. After all, he’s only played in 12 NBA games.

“I’m right here, though,’’ he said. “I’m focused, not flying. It’s 12 games into the season. It’s just the beginning. I’m staying focused and doing what the coach asks me to do.’’

Porzingis obviously is succeeding early on in his NBA career, much faster than many experts predicted. Given how Knicks fans nearly brought out their torches and pitchforks when the team drafted him fourth-overall in the 2015 NBA Draft, it’s amazing how they’ve pulled a complete one-eighty now that he’s averaging 12.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks in 25.3 minutes of action per game.

Actually, it’s not that amazing, really. Linsanity — and now Kristaps-mania — proves that it only takes a small sample size of success to get the Knicks fan base to lose their collective minds over a player. But early returns on Porzingis, unlike Jeremy Lin, gives every indication that the hype is warranted.

And he’s got the Twitter followers to prove it.