New York Knicks star forward Kristaps Porzingis has taken another step into his greatness this year, slowly evolving into the Knicks’ best player after All-Star Carmelo Anthony held the reigns in the Big Apple for the past five seasons.
Porzingis has added a series of moves to his arsenal. Whether it’s launching from beyond the arc, pick-and-pops or Dirk Nowitzki’s patented one-legged fade away, you name it Porzingis has it.
But his most important move this season, however, came off the court. During a news conference this past Saturday at Harlem’s Fred Samuel Center, Porzingis announced that he would be donating $500 to RENS, a non-for-profit basketball program, for every blocked shot this season.
“As you know, I love doing stuff for the community,” Porzingis said. “I think this will be one of the biggest things I’ve done so far, donating $500 for every shot that I block. I’m going to block all the shots that I can.”
The program is called “KrisStops,” and its main mission will be to help nurture families that might not be able afford tutoring and SAT prep for their children.
“This is very big for the program, very big, especially for the youth,” said RENS third-grade and fourth-grade coach Craig Keys. “He’s representing New York City, Big Apple basketball and obviously the kids love that. And what he’s going to do to help the program, is very big and very important to the program, because he will be donating to the tutoring program, which helps to assist our kids to get the extra tutoring help and services maybe that some parents can’t afford.”
“One thing is obviously giving back.” Porzingis said after being asked what sparked his interest in supporting the program. “With this whole thing I want to show what type of player I am on the court and person I am off it.”
Through Sunday, Porzingis was averaging 1.2 blocks per contest. If he continues at that rate for the remainder of the year, he would contribute $42,000 toward RENS at the season’s end.
Porzingis was met by a swarm of kids at the center, who share the same joy he once did at their age.
“Basketball is an escape from the life that you have,” Porzingis added. “Me too, as a young kid, that hour or hour and a half that I had hanging with my friends, that was the best time of the day.”
And, like his relentlessness on the court, Porzingis plans on building on his program for years to come.
“This is my home now and hopefully for many, many years, and this is only the beginning,” he said.