Phil Jackson’s reputation as a sports psychologist and Zen master may have hit a 7-foot bump when it comes to the Knicks top draft pick Kristaps Porzingis. The 20-year-old Porzingis is wise beyond his years. He’s displayed unusual composure, poise and maturity since being selected (and booed) by the Knicks with the #4 pick. Jackson, who used to give Bulls guard BJ Armstrong books about how to work with geniuses (Michael Jordan), likes to tweak guys publicly to motivate them.
Recently Jackson worried aloud that Porzingis might end up like Shawn Bradley, a 7’6″ Mormon who took two years off during college to fulfill his religious duties, played a number of uninspired years in the NBA after being a top draft pick in 1993. Porzingis responded quickly and factually, without buying any of Phil’s psych games. “I’m not Shawn Bradley,” he wrote. Porzingis smartly said “that fired me up” about Jackson’s comment. But Phil’s 1990s brand of motivation is amateur psychology — and Porzingis doesn’t seem to need it. Jackson, of all people, should know: he’s a pro and he drafted one.
Kristaps Porzingis on Shawn Bradley comment: “That’s what Phil does to get guys to work hard. That fired me up. I’m not Shawn Bradley.”
— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) September 16, 2015