Otto Porter: Unfamiliar in the District, the interview
I recently interviewed Otto Porter for the Washington City Paper as part of their “People Issue.” The quiet, extremely humble kid from Missouri isn’t much for chit-chat (which could have one second-guessing both the line of questioning and targeted subject). But Porter being in D.C. proper as a basket-baller since 2011, going from college at Georgetown to the pros, made him a relevant subject, if not a challenging one. The idea was to get Porter to talk about his connection to the District—general thoughts from food to culture—and to get to know just a little bit more about Washington’s third overall draft pick in 2013 off the basketball court. Randy Wittman said “I don’t know who he is” in reference to Porter at the end of October (Otto has been injured and off the court since before training camp), so why not try to see if there’s anything there? Otto was kind enough to take time and answer some questions after the Wizards practiced around two weeks ago.
Read the main version of the interview at WashingtonCityPaper.com. (Of course, if you live in/near Washington, D.C., you can always pick up an old fashioned hard copy.) For the Q&A that landed on the cutting room floor, keep reading below.Have you explored any D.C. neighborhoods since you were drafted by the Wizards?
“No, I really haven’t had the time to go around, but truly I hope I can do that in the next couple of years.”
Have you taken dates anywhere in the city?
“To the movies … (laughs) … but there’s plenty of things to do around here … just something to look into.”
So what’s the best movie theater? Regal in Chinatown? AMC in Georgetown?
“Anywhere. Here at the Verizon Center in Chinatown, or the one in Arlington—there’s plenty—or the one in Georgetown. I used to go there all the time because it’s right there. But mainly here (Chinatown).”
[After Otto says his favorite food is Italian.] Have you had Italian anywhere in D.C.? Where would you get those dishes?
“I haven’t had any in so long, so not really. But there are a couple of Italian places … actually there are some around Georgetown that are supposed to be real good.”
[After Otto says that he's never been to Ben's Chili Bowl.] So I take it that you haven’t had a half-smoke, either— essentially the indigenous food for D.C.—not even from a street vendor?
“Yea, I wouldn’t know anything about that.”
You were featured in the Washington Post Express in June 2012 right before you were drafted. You were on the cover under the headline, “The Trendy Pick,” and they had you in a fashion shoot of sorts on the campus of Georgetown, wearing pink linen shorts and an indigo work shirt with dots on it. Tell me about that… Do you remember doing it?
“Uh huh… that was fun.”
Did you pick those clothes or did someone else?
“They did … that was the only clothes that fit me. I was like ‘Fine … we’re right here … just a photo shoot and that’ll be it.”
Do you go shopping around D.C. or buy clothes from anywhere in particular in the city?
“No … more online.”
What’s your go-to piece of clothing? Any favorites?
“T-shirt and shorts … that’s my go-to. But other than that, I like to wear suits.”
I heard that your first time on an airplane was when you took a visit to Georgetown, is that true?
“Yea, that’s true.”
How was that experience? Were you nervous? Are you used to planes now?
“I wasn’t nervous or anything. I felt like it was something that was going to be fun to do, and it was … felt like a roller coaster, actually. But now that I think about it, I’ve been on all these big planes and that’s like … that really was a small plane. It was like a two-propeller plane… I was like, ‘wow’. But it was adventurous, it was fun.”
You went to Brazil with the Wizards during the preseason. That’s a long fight, how was it?
“It was probably like 10-11 hours, but I’ve been on longer. With Georgetown, we went to China. And the funny thing is, they left today to go to South Korea, which is like another big trip. I don’t know how they can do it.”
How was China? What was your impression or what was the biggest culture shock?
“Just the environment, the people … it’s different. The population is unbelievable. You walk out there and the streets are packed with people … traffic and stuff like that. At the same time, it was pretty cool to see a different culture, how they operate and the different traditions. Going to the Great Wall, it was amazing.”
So contrast that with your trip to Brazil.
“Brazil was another culture shock. The place is beautiful. Just going to the Jesus statue and see the view. Just going to different restaurants and see the different language. It was pretty cool.”
When you were growing up in Missouri, what teams did you follow?
“I was really young, I didn’t really follow a team and there were no real teams there … but the Cardinals, I’m a Cardinals fan.
“I didn’t really have a team but I loved to watch. It didn’t matter who was playing. And that’s how it is with baseball … just a fan of the game, not really a fan of the team. In the NBA, I was more a fan of players. Kevin Durant is my favorite player, but no favorite team.”
You have your own apartment? Do any family members live with you?
“I have my own apartment.”
Do you cook for yourself? How does that work?
“I have a nutritionist that makes sure I eat the right stuff.”
What’s the healthiest thing you like to eat a couple times per week?
“A peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”
When not playing basketball or video games, what are you watching on television?
“I have two TV shows: Martin and the Fresh Prince (of Bel Air), those are the only shows that I ever watch. Will Smith is my favorite actor.”