Kristaps Porzingis, despite being the centerpiece of one of the world’s most visible sports franchises and a superstar in utero, spent this summer’s gym trips looking an awful lot like what he is: a skinny-ass 21-year-old trying to put some weight on. It was comforting to see.
This clip, taken from yesterday’s workout video, looked like yet another familiar sight:
Here you have your average gym-goer doing “core exercises,” or perhaps “resting between sets of planks,” but more just rolling in their own sweat on the mats and digging around in their pocket to check some notifications. Where did that phone go. Oh maybe it slipped through the hole in the pocket of these ratty shorts. Better grab it through the bottom.
But no. Look more closely. Kristaps Porzingis is wearing the high-quality shorts of the Latvian national team, and he is retrieving orbs from their pockets. They’re small and dense, a little like lacrosse balls, which you may have seen people use for massage purposes, not unlike a foam roller.
Okay. That’s relatively familiar.
Whatever it is, the big boy knows exactly where he wants it.
Porzingis seems to have spent this offseason successfully ignoring his employer, a clogged toilet—including since-ousted Phil Jackson’s attempts to shop him around. Instead he has been toiling away at the gym like some tireless Gumby, constantly posting online to document his progress, and by a sketchy eye test, these labors are paying off. “I’ve gained a little bit of weight – probably my legs are the strongest ever,” he speculated in June. The exact nature that gain will be tough to tell until he weighs in this fall. But Porzingis, who recently emphasized his desire to work on his post game, does look a little bit chunkier here, posting up (and pushing off) an outsized Latvian teammate:
Chunkier, at least, than his skeletal look at the All-Star break:
Right? A little bit?
Maintaining muscle mass might be a career-long challenge for this 7-foot-3 anomaly. “I want to get stronger. Eighty-two-game season takes a lot from you. As the season goes, it’s hard to keep the weight up. It takes a lot for me. It decreased during the season,” he said last month. Surely this happens when your job is to do 2000 minutes of brutal cardio while traveling constantly. But whatever thinning out he endures over the course of 2018, Porzingis will probably be entering his third NBA season with more meat than his long bones have ever carried.