The son of an Olympic boxer and a Polish national volleyball player, Marcin Gortat’s national pride was instilled in him at a young age. In a chat with Monumental Network, the Wizards center explained how his Polish heritage plays a part in his on-court nicknames.
“After one of the summer leagues I was the leading shot blocker,” Gortat said. “And one of the fans actually posted the nickname on the internet on a blog — ‘The Polish Hammer.’”
If you’re into wrestling, you know the Polish Hammer as an old-school finishing move, but it can most certainly be re-purposed.
Gortat went on to say that there’s a nickname out there that he’d prefer to use.
“The Polish Machine actually is coming straight from Germany,” he said. “I came up with that before Polish Hammer, and the reason why is just because I work hard every day. I turned from soccer to basketball when I was 18 and a lot of people told me that I’m going to miss a lot of simple things — basketball details — and I have to work hard every day to learn that. So, I was full of energy and one of the Serbian coaches that used to coach me, he told me, ‘You’re running like a machine.’ I said, ‘Polish Machine.’”
I guess no one ever told Gortat that you can’t pick your own nickname. Polish Hammer it is, then?
The Wizards starter also talked about his friendship with fellow big man Nene.
“He was great from the get-go,” Gortat said of his teammate. “He was one of the few guys that actually called me right away after the trade. He was the first guy that asked me if I need a ride to the airport. He gave me a ride three times.
“It’s not easy to come into first practice, second practice when you’re standing on the side by yourself because you don’t really know anybody on the team,” he continued. “And then you have your big fellow come in and is talking to you, ‘How you feel? Do you know everything? Do you need help with this or that?’ It was really, really helpful. So I wish everybody to have a veteran, have a friend like that on the team, and I’m always going to stand behind Nene because he represents a lot and I think that he represents the right thing.”