Screengrab via DelisTV/YouTube

The Latvian rappers who idolize New York Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis

You need to listen to these Latvian hip-hop bangers.


Published Jan 19, 2016   Updated May 27, 2021, 8:28 am CDT

New York Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis was not expected to do much this NBA season, seeing as how he was 19 at the time he was drafted, rail thin, and awkward in his 7-foot-three frame. It’s instead taken no time for Porzingis to completely win over Madison Square Garden and also become one of the top choices for rookie of the year. 

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Yet this massive impact he’s made on the NBA seems to pale in comparison to the impact he’s made on the Latvian rap scene.

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Immediately after last year’s draft, the Latvian parody rap duo Transleiteris uploaded a video for “Porzingis,” a bass-heavy tribute to their countryman. That song, much like Porzingis himself, got popular quick, which was all encapsulated by this ESPN commercial featuring the song.

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Over the weekend, another song by yet another Latvian rap duo emerged onto the Internet. The one is “Keep Calm Like Kristaps Porzingis” by OLAS, and it doubles as a trap banger and a vote for Porzingis as an All-Star. The Knicks big man was trailing only a handful of players from being voted an All-Star starter, including fellow Knickerbocker Carmelo Anthony. (Voting ended Monday night.)

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The song itself seems to bite one of the hottest rappers of the moment, Atlanta’s Future, with its sparse, siren-blaring beat and Auto-Tuned vocals. Like the first Porzingis song, there are a lot of ad-libs to say the player’s name over and over. The only words I can make out in the song are “double-double,” “triple-double,” “Carmelo Anthony,” “ New York Knicks,” and “dab on ‘em,” but I know the song is great nonetheless. The video shows two Lamborghinis and one woman in traditional garb, all spinning around in the snow—it’s abstract and stunning.

The duo OLAS previously made a song to help Latvian-born Zemgus Girgensons make the 2014 NHL All-Star Game. It didn’t pan out then, but the Buffalo Sabres center did make it in 2015; he ran away with the fan vote due in large part to Latvia.

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They were unable to stuff the ballot box for the Porzingis this year, but he’ll likely be making trips to All-Star Weekend soon enough even without votes from the Baltic. It seems obvious that the star rookie will continue to inspire Latvian rappers, but the question is now who will be the first New York rapper to mention Porzingis? My money’s on Fabolous.

Screengrab via DelisTV/YouTube

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*First Published: Jan 19, 2016, 11:30 pm CST