(Toni L. Sandys / Washington Post)
(Toni L. Sandys / Washington Post)

Marcin Gortat, you need to understand, has quite a boxing history in his bloodlines. Via Mike Wise:

His father, Janusz Gortat, was a bronze medalist light-heavyweight boxer at the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games. He actually lost to Leon Spinks in 1976 and beat the future heavyweight champion at the world championships a year later.

When Marcin came home six years ago to show his father he had gotten a tattoo of him on his left pectoral muscle, with ’72 and ’76 inked alongside the portrait, Janusz predictably responded, “Have you lost your mind?”

And Gortat, of course, has used boxing as an offseason training tool, telling an interviewer “actually my entire life involved boxing.”

So if any NBA player would be in favor of on-court punching, you might reasonably guess it’d be Gortat. Still, this recent exchange with Kyle Weidie of True Hoop and Truth About It was inordinately pro-punching. It came when Gortat was asked about any suggestions for changing the league’s rules.

I would say I would loosen up a little bit the rules about the fighting fines. That’s what I would loosen up. Because today you go to an ice hockey game, and the one thing they’re waiting for is a fight, you know what I’m saying? So if they could set it up something like that in the NBA. That if there are two guys and they have a problem, if they could just separate everybody. And these two people that have problem, if they could fight …

During the game?

During the game. Quick, 15-20 seconds, throw few punches, then referees jump in and break this thing up. I think the game … these two guys, they resolved their problem. They’re both suspended and they’re leaving. But end of the day, they fix the problem between each other, fans are super excited, and I think that would be a pretty cool idea [chuckles].

You’d need bigger refs. You couldn’t have Dick Bavetta out there.

At some point when the referees jump in, then you’d have to stop. You’d have to stop. So I think that would be a great idea, just like the ice hockey fans waiting for that, that’s would NBA fans would get into, as well.

Yes, he appeared to be mostly joking. But quite a few Caps fan favorites have reached that status with the aid of fisticuffs. Probably not very practical in an age of increased concerns over head injuries, but maybe the blows could be limited to body shots.

There is much more in the interview, and it’s all excellent.