New York’s most marketable sports figure is teaming up with a nutrition bar company aiming for a fortuitous partnership based on KP’s meteoric rise.

Kristaps Porzingis is a rising star in a huge metropolitan area. The 22-year-old is putting up historic numbers for the New York Knicks, and with more eyes on the Latvian than ever, even greater attention from endorsers and brands are likely to come Porzingis’ way in a windfall. In other words, he deadass represents New York, B. Kristaps can be a fixture for brands looking to tap into the launchpad that is the New York sports market.

That’s where ZING Bars comes in. Founded by David Ingalls in Seattle, Zing Bars are health and vitality bars boasting great nutritional value for recovering athletes and consumers looking for healthy snacking options. According to Zing Bars, the health bars “were developed by professional dietitians with formulations rooted in nutrition science for consumers of all ages who are looking for long-lasting energy and vitality.” KP’s new sponsor recognizes the third year player’s potential in a tough as nails league. While Porzingis puts up big numbers up during Knicks wins, his image off the court only grows larger. Advertisers are flocking to get involved with New York’s adopted immigrant son. “We are thrilled to welcome Kristaps to the Zing Bars family,” Ingalls announced. “He authentically ‘walks the talk’ when it comes to eating healthy for performance, and his commitment to providing healthier snacking options for his fans is a great fit for us,” Ingalls added.

So what does becoming a brand ambassador for Zing Bars means for Kristaps Porzingis? While he’s only 11 games into his third NBA season, KP has already positioned himself as the face of the Knicks—and by extension—New York. We’ve already seen French rookie Frank Ntilikina plastered on a Manhattan skyscraper, and Porzingis’ partnership with Zing Bars means KP will be on the top of Madison Avenue’s athlete sponsorship dream list. Kristaps could be groomed to ad execs’ favorite ambassador, lining up for the prosperity that comes with KP’s Midas touch. While Porzingis is coming into his own on the court, off of it, he’s turning into a model for smart business practices that turn a basketball star’s impact on the game into a huge influencer for fans who want to associate themselves with stars (see: LeBron James, Steph Curry). There’s plenty to like for sponsors when it comes to Porzingis. He’s a homegrown product. He’s an underdog story (remember the inhospitable draft day chorus of boo’s?). He’s from Europe, but he’s as well acclimated to the big lights and big city as any baller in a generation. Even if some can’t pronounce Kristaps’ name, he’s still a recognizable face for anyone in the know about the NBA due to his emphatic dunks, powerful blocks, and signature facial expressions made after drilling deep three-pointers. Who wouldn’t want to attach themselves to Porzingis’ rising stardom?

ZING Bars packaging

O.K., so KP is going to be plastered on products worldwide. What about these Zing Bars, how do they taste?

Upon the new of Porzingis’ partnership with Zing Bars, TKW reached out to the nutrition company about their deal with our favorite seven-foot-three unicorn. We were fortunate to receive a care package from Zing Bars so we could deliver the deets on the KP-endorsed bars.

Zing Bars boasts treats that are gluten free, soy free, vegan-friendly, non-GMO, and rich in fiber and protein. It’s packed with all those health-nut buzzwords that would pique Gwyneth Paltrow’s interest. The vitality bars are filled with what Zing Bars advertises as, “nutrient-dense, all-natural ingredients,” and will provide athletes with a low-sugar diet, and “deliver sustained energy.” The importance of healthy living mixed with bulking up an NBA battle-tested body is personal for the New York power forward, as Porzingis fought with anemia while he was teenager in Latvia. Much has been made about Porzingis’ extended offseason vacation in his native country, away from a team that had reportedly rubbed him the wrong with more than a couple speed bumps between Porzingis and the Knicks, an organization with a checkered past in comfortably treating its stars. However, KP has proved that both his summer workout regimen and diet have built a better player as he has led the Knicks to a 7-4 record in the 11 games he’s played in.

Zing Bars come in twelve flavors and three types of bars: “chocolate covered,” “soft cookie,” and “nut butter & fruit.” Ingalls and company are banking that their highly nutritious bars, different types that appeal to chocolate lovers and fruit fans, and growing list of flavors—and of course Kristaps Porzingis’ endorsement—will propel them to the mainstream crossover of athletes looking for nutritious recover bars and health-conscious consumers seeking a low calorie snack.

ZING Bars vitality bars flavors (Left to right: Dark Chocolate Hazelnut, Coconut Cashew Crisp, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Dark Chocolate Coconut, Maple Pecan, and Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond)

Enough burying the lede. How do they taste? Let’s start with the “Oatmeal Chocolate Chip” vitality bar. Oatmeal gets a bad rap, in my opinion. Those who associate it in its snack form will bring up the oatmeal raisin cookie—a cookie I’ll righteously defend. Oatmeal is an underrated snack and breakfast choice. It’s not flashy, but it’ll get the job done. As for the Oatmeal Chocolate chip bar, it has a rich, chocolatey taste upon the first bite. It’s pretty sticky as you’d imagine chocolate and oatmeal combined would feel in your mouth. I’m not a huge fan of this bar, despite my defense of oatmeal, and I don’t think this would be my go-to Zing Bar treat. This is a KP on the block mini-hook shot that falls wide of the basket, but Enes Kanter is there for the put back layup.

Now on to the “Dark Chocolate Hazelnut” bar. This is already a better bar than the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip bar. It’s not too dark chocolatey for those who stray from that side of the chocolate spectrum. And it’s not too nutty for those hesitant for that flavor, too. This is a very solid bar, and I took my second and third bites in quick succession. Both the dark chocolate and hazelnut really, really complement each other well here. There’s great mouthfeel, and the after taste is kinda salivating, actually. I’d definitely go back to this bar. It’s KP in the pick-and-roll offense, popping up to bury a wet jumper from 16 feet out.

“Coconut Cashew Crisp” time. I know coconut and chocolate can be a polarizing combination for folks. The Mounds and Almond Joy debate is a well-documented dialogue, although I’m partial to Almond Joy since I generally prefer lighter chocolate. Unfortunately, the Coconut Cashew Crisp is absolutely average. You take a bite and immediately chomp down on the distinctive coconut feel. However, I think the cashew crisp part severely limits the coconut’s potential here. It’s mostly fine, but nothing spectacular. Coconut Cashew Crisp is a telegraphed high post pass to KP with a defender in his position, leading to a bad pass and turnover. And Frank Ntilikina couldn’t chase the fast break in time to break up an easy bucket. Oh well.

“Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip” is another winner. There may be a lot of mastication involved, and afterwards I felt like a movie dog forced to appear like it’s talking with peanut butter in its mouth. When I finally could swallow the peanut butter, however, I realized this could be Zing Bars’ best product I’ve tried thus far. There’s a great balance between the chocolate and peanut butter, best exemplified in Reese’s, but here the health-focused vitality bar dazzles with its sticky and savory Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip. This is a patented Kristaps triple from the left wing. Nothing but net.

“Dark Chocolate Coconut”: this is a great bar, too. It’s a bit more dark chocolate than coconut, so coconut lovers may be disappointed once again, yet this closely resembles the Mounds bar. Except, it’s packed with 10 grams of protein and seven grams of fiber. So far it looks like Zing Bars does well in the dark chocolate department. I think Knicks fans and athletes are gonna enjoy Dark Chocolate Coconut, I know I did. DCC is a healthy Kristaps block, possibly victimizing Cody Zeller as he foolishly attempts to climb Mount Zingis.

“Maple Pecan”: This looked wildly intriguing when I opened up the package. I was disappointed, though. I like pecan, I like maple syrup (is that a kind of food group you can like?), but these two couldn’t mesh for me. Practically every Zing Bar I tried before Maple Pecan heavily relied on chocolate. One could say chocolate is their bread and butter, and now I get why. Zing Bars does chocolate justice despite the limitations of the low sugar content. Pecan (pronounced pɪˈkæn, you savages), doesn’t know its role on this Zing Bar team. Maple Pecan is KP idly standing in the corner while Derrick Rose over-dribbles a wasted possession.

Last but not least, the “Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond.” This was a gamble for Zing Bars. But… it worked for me! The almond and chocolate worked seamlessly on this one. The cherry is pretty great, too. It’s possibly a tad too much like that flavor boosting syrup you pump into your expensive coffee drink, but it works. I think for traditionalists, this bar may confuse them, but for those willing to take risks it’s a winner. Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond is a heat check straightaway three from Porzingis at the edge of the center court logo. Splash.

What have we learned today? Well, obviously, I don’t think Zing Bars anticipated its consumers to eat seven of their bars in one sitting. That was lesson no. 1. Lesson no. 2: chocolate is good.

O.K., now I’m second-guessing if we did learn anything at all.

Anyway, Zing Bars definitely has a winner in both its “brand champion” Kristaps Porzingis and the inconceivably undefeated flavor champion of chocolate. If Zing Bars can continue helping our own KP bulk up and dominate teams, scoring 30+ points a night, and turning the Garden into a celebration, then we can all hop aboard Team Zing.

Thank you, ZING Bars, for providing us with their various nutrition bars.