“He’s much more known than I am,” the ambassador of Poland said Saturday, while watching Wizards center Marcin Gortat. “I used to call him another ambassador for Poland here in the United States.” I was talking to the actual Polish ambassador — that would be Ryszard Schnepf, for those not up on your current European ambassadors — because it was Polish Heritage Night at the Wizards game. This is nothing new, of course; Gortat has previously sponsored two other Polish Heritage Nights here in Washington, and even more back in Phoenix. He meets with Polish groups on the road, talks about Polish causes regularly, and uses his Twitter feed both to mock his haters and to tweet with Polish athletes and fans.
Gortat called it “a huge day for me, a very important day for me.” He shook dozens of hands, posed for photos, spoke at length with members of the Polish media, and addressed hundreds of Polish fans. Again, this is nothing new; “it’s not my first rodeo,” Gortat said, referencing his previous Polish nights. The Polish fans and friends of Gortat crowding around the center before and after the game were less restrained. “You can see that there are many people, they want to demonstrate their emotional link with Poland,” the ambassador said. “Millions of people in Poland are following his career here as a symbol of success.”
Marcin Gortat announced that he is leaving the Polish National Team. The Wizards big man has played his last game at Eurobasket 2015 in Lille. Gortat talked with “Przegląd Sportowy” and his interview was translated by Bartosz Bielecki for Truthaboutit.net. Per Truthaboutit.net, “There’s a 90 percent chance I won’t return to the national team,” he said. “I leave myself that 10 percent in case something unexpected happens, but I’ve already let the coach know that my last game was in France, at EuroBasket.”
Pau Gasol was in pain just before the start of the game against Poland and he had to run to the locker rooms in order to get medical treatment. However, this was the start of an amazing story. As Spanish coach Sergio Scariolo revealed in the press conference: “The doctors told me that Pau couldn’t play more than five minutes straight. But after the first five minutes, when I asked him to come to bench he told me now. “I will take the risk”, he answered me and he had an amazing game”. Spain’s leader led his team to the quarter-finals with an extraordinary performance, having 30 points on 6/7 from the three-point range. And while Rudy Fernandez is day to day and may miss the next big game versus Greece in the quarterfinals, Gasol is ready to play: “I never jumped off the boat and I will not do that now. We play against Greece, I will play for sure”.
Mark Woods: Gortat told me before the game he thinks Pau Gasol is the “Greatest European centre ever” – relishing challenge of that match-up.
David ‘Dubi’ Pick: Lithuania, Espana, Poland, Turks & more NTs ramping up complaints to FIBA about poor hotel conditions in Lille. Poland & Lithuania stressed that delivered cuisine isn’t fit for Marcin Gortat, Jonas Valanciunas – NBA stars. Espana, Finland, Turks, others called for field trips for dinner. Opted against hotel menus.