On a hot day in early September, three glass revolving doors twirl into the midtown Manhattan high-rise where the most fascinating man in the NBA spent most of his summer. The lobby is palatial, with a dazzling chandelier fixed in the center of the room; a young woman with platinum blonde hair stands directly underneath it, inside a front desk that looks like someone cut a marble egg in half, juggling phone calls and small talk with delivery men as they scurry across the floor.
New York Knicks center Enes Kanter steps out from an elevator behind her, armed for the heat in a white short-sleeve hoodie, dark mesh shorts, and solid teal low-top Nikes. A trimmed beard accentuates his baby-fat-free face, and the thick hair atop his head takes the shape of a Brillo pad that’s been dyed black. A long, red scar runs along his right forearm, memorializing the time he fractured it punching a chair in the middle of a game. A towering, chiseled, bronze sculpture of a man, Kanter’s stride is unexpectedly graceful; it’s unclear if his heels ever touch the ground. If any other first impression can be had, it’s that he’s almost too affable: Over the next two minutes, Kanter asks how I’m doing and/or if I’m good four separate times.
We exit the elevator and pass through a noisy weight room and congested lounge, towards a cafe that’s attached to a broad outdoor terrace. Before we move outside to escape the crowd, Kanter points up at a giant menu populated by fresh pressed juices, açaí bowls, and almond butter shakes. “They have smoothies!” he smiles. “Are you sure you don’t want something? You’re not getting anything? Seriously you have to get something.” We grab two water bottles and make our way outside to sit in the far corner, beneath a giant sun umbrella for the rest of an afternoon that’s already unlike any I’ve ever had. For Kanter, it’s a typical day: A visitor is here to ask questions about his inexplicably complex life.