As CBSSports.com's Sam Vecenie detailed in March, Arkansas' Bobby Portis is fueled by anger. The 6-11 big man is expected to be a mid to late first-round pick in June and at the NBA Combine this week, Portis shared a story about what makes him play so angrily.
From MassLive's Jay King:
The conversation started with Portis saying he tries to play with similar passion and energy to Kevin Garnett. A follow-up question came: Are you as crazy as he was on the court?
"I'm very crazy," Portis said. "I play angry. I play mad. I play very angry because every game, I sit in the locker room and I envision that the other player on the team slapped my mom. That's why I get mad, and now I've gotta get you because you slapped my mom."
This may seem quite extreme but the ritual seems be working for Portis. Picturing an opponent slapping his mom is his tackling fuel:
Portis is only 20 years old and one could chalk this mentality up to youthful thinking, but as King notes, Portis has seen his mother in an abusive relationship before. He uses that memory to psyche himself up before games.
Asked why he settled on the visualization tactic he now uses, Portis replied, "Just some of the things that I went through in the past, some of the things I had to go through in my household, and some of the things I had to go through in school. So I create this thing that I do now -- me getting mad -- so when I get on the court, I know I can help make you just as mad."
Portis calls himself "one of the best-kept secrets" in the draft. If he ends up becoming a late first-round or even a second-round pick, maybe he will change up his pregame routine to use his late selection to motivate him.
But if it ain't broke, don't fix it.