Porzingis now embraces 'Unicorn' nickname he once disliked


WASHINGTON -- When asked about Kristaps Porzingis' unique skillset at 7-foot-3 following his debut with the Wizards on Sunday night, both head coach Wes Unseld Jr. and forward Kyle Kuzma arrived at the same word, a word that has long been a perfect summation for what he represents on a basketball court.

"It's very unusual. I'm not surprised at all he has the nickname the 'Unicorn.' He's one of a kind," Unseld Jr. said. "Guys like that don't just pop up like that all the time."

"I mean, there's not really 7-foot-3 guys who shoot threes. There's one. There's a reason why they call him the 'Unicorn,'" Kuzma added.

The 'Unicorn' is a reference to the nickname Kevin Durant gave Porzingis years ago, when he was first opening eyes around the league as a never before seen talent. He can shoot threes and make plays off the dribble, all while doing normal big man things like block shots and operate in the post.

Even in an era of the NBA where big men who play like guards is commonplace, Porzingis stands out because of his size. No one can do what he does at 7-foot-3.

The nickname itself, though, has taken some time to grow on Porzingis. He explained after Sunday's 133-123 win over the Indiana Pacers that it wasn't always his favorite.


"You know what, at first I didn't like it. I was like what is that, 'unicorn?' I had never heard that word before. K.D. gave me that nickname and it stuck, it stuck. At first, I didn't like it that much but now I like it. Now I actually like it. I think it kind of represents the way I play. I can play all over the floor and with my height and length. So, I try to embrace that and I try to play like a unicorn," Porzingis said.

Now the 'Unicorn' plays for the Wizards and he's off to a great start with the team. He scored 25 points in 21 minutes against Indiana with two blocks and a 3-for-4 night from three. 

Not bad for a first impression.