Marcin Gortat is a man full of ideas for improving the NBA fan experience (letting the players fight, for instance), and plenty of ambition off the court once his playing days come to an end (something simple like becoming the president of Poland.) The Polish Hammer conducted a fun Q&A with ESPN:
Talk about passion. Do you remember ripping that towel earlier this season in Toronto?
“Yeah, I remember.”
Was that your first towel rip?
“Oh, naw, that was probably my millionth towel rip. I’ve ripped a lot of towels. Especially sometimes after the game, and we’re about to take showers, and we don’t have any washcloths, so we’re just ripping one towel in little pieces and obviously they’re throwing me towels to rip.
“I was just pissed. I remember that game, I was pissed. I was pissed because I missed some easy layups at the basket and I should dunk the ball. Then I miss easy layups, and then I get some dumb calls and bad fouls, and that’s all, I was just pissed. Frustrated.“
With the situation in Ukraine with Russia, I know that Poland has expressed some concerns to NATO about Russia’s actions (including military drills near the border with Poland). Is that something you’re keeping track of?
“Quite honestly, even though I’m saying this left and right, I keep repeating this to everybody that one day I would like to be president (of Poland), I’m actually kind of off that subject now, off that topic right now because I really haven’t had time to follow what’s going on. Obviously I’m just checking really quick what’s going on. One thing I know, a lot of people are escaping from the Ukraine. I feel bad for Ukraine because they’re our neighbors. I have a lot of Ukraine friends, players and friends from Ukraine. I’m hoping everything will be fine in their country because they didn’t deserve that. But end of the day, I know a lot of people from the Ukraine will go to Poland to look for shelter and look for a home. And thanks to them, our Polish economy is going to go up, because obviously if hundreds of thousands of people leave the country to come to our country, then we’re looking at a huge boost of a lot of different things, and obviously we’re going to probably help them. I’m not the president sitting in the office, but we’re definitely going to help them and try to protect them.”
Any rule changes that you think would help the NBA game? For instance, sometimes they talk about instituting FIBA goaltending rules in the NBA. Any thoughts on that or any other changes that would help the game play?
“The goaltending? It definitely wouldn’t help. You have too many athletic guys in this league that would tip the ball out of the rim, so pretty much to make a basket you will need to swish it, you know what I’m saying?
“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].”