The best athletes in the world do more than just overcome adversity. The true competitors, in any sport, convert the pain of disappointment and defeat into fuel for the fire that burns inside them. LeBron James insists that losing in 2011 is what allowed him to become the player he is now. The entire San Antonio Spurs team that fell to LeBron in 2013 came back with a vengeance the following year—never have I seen a group zero in on a shared goal and tear through any potential roadblocks with such ruthless execution. Those crushing losses didn’t deter those athletes, they drove them to new heights.
What happened to Michael Porter Jr. on draft night is not easy to endure and his angst that evening is well documented by now. But Porter Jr. isn’t about to let that moment break him. Define him it might, though hopefully not for the disappointment he felt that night, but rather the motivation it will provide him for the rest of his career.
MPJ called in to The Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday morning to discuss, among other things, his slide in the draft. When Patrick inquired into this potential dynamic, Porter Jr. wasted no time in putting what Nuggets fans are hoping for into words.
“No doubt,” Porter Jr. confirmed. “When you’re drafted number one, all you can do is prove everybody right. But being drafted at 14, I get to prove everybody wrong, so that will be really fun and I can’t wait to do that.”
Porter Jr. may not have as much big game experience as his peers in this draft class, but he’s shown no shortage of confidence throughout this process. Even after having slid to the end of the lottery.
When Porter Jr. was asked what he needs to add to his skill set on his customary draft night conference call with the local media, he was quick to dismiss any potential limitations on his actual game.
“Honestly, the basketball comes easy to me,” Porter Jr. said. “Once I’m healthy, I have no doubt the basketball will take care of itself.”
That confidence was on full display for the duration of Wednesday morning’s interview. When Patrick asked if he felt ready to go to the NBA after High School, Porter Jr. reiterated that his health is the only reason his path to turning pro has proved to be so rocky.
“That was before my back took a turn for the worse, it had already been bothering me a little bit but it got much worse in college. But I think that jump for me, to the NBA, would have been pretty smooth coming out of high school.”
Perhaps the peak of Porter Jr.’s publicized confidence to date came later in the interview though, when he was asked what player in the NBA that he wants a piece of.
“LeBron James,” Porter Jr. answered with no hesitation. “I can’t wait to play the very best player in the NBA. I just want to test myself against him. I’m not really one to back down against anybody. I want to be a problem for him.”
You can watch the full interview here and you can catch The Dan Patrick Show, airing Monday-Friday on Audience network—DIRECTV channel 239—at 9am.