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Kobe told Porzingis he has 'bright future ahead'

Tom Szczerbowski / USA TODAY Sports

Like many people around the world, Kristaps Porzingis idolized Kobe Bryant.

But unlike most, the New York Knicks center had the opportunity to play against the Los Angeles Lakers legend before he retired at the conclusion of the 2015-16 campaign.

As a rookie last season, Porzingis posted 12 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks in New York's 99-95 win over the Lakers in Bryant's final game at Madison Square Garden.

Afterward, The Black Mamba approached the 7-foot-3 Latvian.

"Kobe came up to me after the game, and he said, 'You have a bright future ahead of you,'" Porzingis recalled on The Players' Tribune.

"That blew my mind. Kobe's my idol. It was an honor!"

The 2015 No. 4 overall pick finished the campaign with a 17.7 PER and averages of 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, and 1.3 assists. He was the runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting and made the All-Rookie team.

Porzingis is excited to begin fulfilling Bryant's prophecy by stepping up more in his sophomore year. His video game rating's on the line, after all.

"I'm ready to show more in Year 2. I am only 80 overall in NBA 2K, so I need to improve," the 21-year-old wrote.

While he didn't dwell on how he'll boost his 2K rating, he did share one personal goal:

"One day I'd like to get a quadruple-double, points, assists, rebounds and blocks. (Carmelo Anthony) got close to a few triple-doubles last year - as the wing player in our offense, he's in a good position to do set everyone up - so I know it’s possible in our system. Ten blocks, though … I don't know."

His main focus, though, is helping the Knicks return to the playoffs this upcoming season after a three-year hiatus.

Things could be looking up in the Big Apple with "Porzingod" on the rise.

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