June 09, 2009
First, Stan Van Gundy praised Gortat's NBA Finals performance, saying that he "had the best all-around game" of any Magic player in Game 1. Truth.
A few days later, Marc Berman of the New York Post reported that Knicks president Donnie Walsh was eyeing a center with his $5 million mid-level exception during free agency, and the 7-foot "Polish Hammer" was at the top of his list.
Representatives of Reebok, with whom Gortat inexplicably has a cheap shoe contract with, were apparently not happy to see a recent photo of him in a Polish newspaper that prominently displayed his Michael Jordan logo tattoo on his lower right leg.
Jordan is of course an offshoot of Nike and, at last check, Nike isn't Reebok. Polish pickle, anyone?
According to Tim Potvak of NBA FanHouse, Reebok called and asked Gortat either to wear higher socks to cover the MJ ink, or to apply makeup over it so it will not be noticed for the rest of the NBA Finals.
In so many words ...
"'They called and said I had to do something about it, but that ain't going to happen,' Gortat said after Tuesday morning's workout.
'I've been wearing it 4-5 years now, and it helped me get to the NBA. They didn't say anything about it when I signed the contract, so it's not going anywhere. I don't think they are paying me enough to take it off.' [...]
'I've heard from other people that even other players, if they don't know my name, they know I'm the big white guy with the Jordan tattoo,' he said. 'I like that. Reebok will have to get used to that.'"
To paraphrase Dylan at Bootlegger Sports, what a hilariously clever response. On the NBA's biggest stage, Gortat's not only shown that he's a competent big man that someone will unquestionably overpay in free agency, but that he's also loyal to the richest shoe manufacturer in the world. Genius!
Yes, you might as well start placing your Nike "Air Gortat" orders now. They'll be all the rage come October.