kristaps porzingis tingus pingus explained

Why Is Kristaps Porzingis' Nickname 'Tingus Pingus'? A Surprisingly Supportive Sports Meme Explained

When the 2024 NBA Finals kicked off late last week, you may have seen a name trending online that caused you to ask yourself, "Who TF is Tingus Pingus"? You would not be the first person to have asked that question. 024543179 STANDARD FIT 9 NBA SPINGUS

Who Is "Tingus Pingus"?

"Tingus Pingus" is the nickname of NBA center Kristaps Porzingis, a Latvian-born big man who is currently making headlines for the NBA finalist Boston Celtics as he returns from a calf injury that sidelined him for most of the playoffs. While "Tingus Pingus" obviously doesn't sound like a nickname given out of adoration, it became an ironic rallying cry for the player's fans as he emerged as a star.

The name comes from the night Porzingis was drafted by the New York Knicks as the fourth overall pick in the 2015 draft. At the time, the Knicks were coming off an abysmal season and the 2015 draft class had some high-profile players who would go on to become stars. Porzingis was not well-known to American audiences at the time, and Knicks fans in Brooklyn, where the draft took place, booed the heck out of the Porzingis pick.

Actor and noted Knicks fan Michael Rapaport was among the many Knicks fans not enthused by the choice, and that night decided to voice his frustration in the voice of famed actor Danny Aiello.

Rapaport's rant went on to become a minor viral video, as fans loved his cry of "WHO THE -- IS TINGUS PINGUS?" and "I'VE NEVER HEARD OF LAT-EE-VIA!" Though he didn't know it at the time Rapaport gave Porzingis a nickname that would stick with him the rest of his career.

How Have NBA Fans Embraced "Tingus Pingus"?

While Porzingis may not have been popular on draft night, he quickly emerged as a star player in New York City, which in turn made "Tingus Pingus" not an insult but more of a rallying cry. It was as though fans would see one of Porzingis' shots go in and defiantly say "That's Tingus Pingus."

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The nickname picked up during Porzingis' time with the Dallas Mavericks in the early 2020s and now it's reaching a critical mass as all basketball fans' eyes are on Porzingis, now with the Boston Celtics, as he returns from injury for the Finals against his old team. In Game 1 of the series, Porzingis had a remarkable game in a blowout victory, with 20 points, six rebounds and three blocks.

He was the story of the game, and social media celebrated by calling it the "Tingus Pingus" game. Even Michael Rapaport, the man once so incensed by his team taking Porzingis that he uploaded a rant about the player on social media, had to admit that Tingus Pingus dominated the game.

For the full history of Tingus Pingus, be sure to check out Know Your Meme's encyclopedia entry for more information.

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