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Wizards’ Marcin Gortat talks pierogis and beards with Shaq and Barkley

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At halftime of Tuesday night’s Wizards game — when it was already clear that this was Marcin Gortat’s night — Shaquille O’Neal started talking about pierogis. Because Gortat is Polish, see.

“Barbecued pierogi alert, barbecued pierogi alert!” he screamed.

This was marginally amusing. But it soon went beyond that.

“Barbecue! Hashtag! Pierogi! Alert!” O’Neal said. “That’s sausage, for all you dummies like Chuck.”

“Pierogi’s not a sausage, fool,” Charles Barkley noted.

“Well that’s what you told me earlier,” Shaq complained.

“No, you asked about a kielbasa,” Barkley said.

“Strike that from the tape!” Shaq requested. “Chuck just set me up.”

(Aside: here are the best pierogis in the Washington area, ranked.)

This Wizards game, of course, was devoid of drama, but was filled with Gortatian excellence. So following a rollicking post-game interview, Shaq asked the expert.

“Uh, Gortat, is a pierogi a sausage or a dumpling?” he wondered.

“Pierogi, pierogi,” Gortat agreed, not understanding. “But you’ve got to stay away from that, you’re gonna get bigger.”

“No, what is it, is it a sausage or a dumpling?” O’Neal tried again.

“Pierogi? A dumpling,” Gortat confirmed.

“Have you ever barbecued it?” O’Neal wondered.

“You can’t do that,” Gortat said, after doubling over in laughter.

Also, Ernie Johnson asked Gortat about his beard.

“Again, after playing basketball, I’m gonna be president, Abe Lincoln, so I’m just getting ready for that.”

And to think, we could be reading season post-mortems right now.