Marcin Gortat is known as an NBA player who loves engaging with the fans in his own way. Whether it's by giving free tickets and a dinner in a restaurant or by giving fans tickets at the Polish Embassy in Washington, you never know when you'll meet the man himself.
Gortat took pictures with each of the free winners, and the first winner reached out to us pretty quickly.
Meet Douglas Reyes-Ceron, the first winner of Gortat's ticket giveaway. We asked him a few questions on his favorite Wizards memories, his experience in the Polish Embassy, and more. Enjoy the read.
BF: Where are you from (as in your hometown) and where do you live today?
Douglas: I'm actually from Washington, D.C. I was born over at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring and was raised in Columbia Heights my entire life. I moved back and currently reside closer to U St. after getting my B.A. at Guilford College in North Carolina.
BF: What's your SB Nation handle?
Douglas: I do not have one right now, but looks like I'll have to mobilize and get one for myself now. Hopefully, something like my Twitter (@dreyesceron) hasn't been taken yet. *hustle to register username*
BF: How did you become a Wizards fan?
Douglas: Admittedly, it took some time and it wasn't until the Michael Jordan Era that I got interested.
I was only 11 when he started playing for them in 2001 and I simply stuck with them long after he left. I rolled on with the greatest highs and lowest lows of the Gilbert Arenas - Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison era. Being a D.C. native, I have embraced all of the D.C. sports teams, including the Wizards.
BF: Who is your favorite Wizards player of all time?
Douglas: Hard to say especially with only such a brief window of time I've spent rooting for the Wiz Squad. I have watched old Bullets games and footage so I've come to appreciate guys like Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, Wes Unseld, Manute Bol, Georghe Muresan et al.
Going off the time I've seen them play, A name that always continues to crop up every time in my mind is Caron Butler. I loved his personality and style of play. Despite being here only five seasons, I loved what he did during the height of the Big Three years.
BF: What were you doing when Marcin Gortat tweeted that he was giving away free tickets for the March 5 game vs. the Pacers?
Douglas: I was watching a soccer game (Manchester United vs. Shrewsbury) on TV and slowly doing some work at home (I do freelance video and photo production) when I randomly checked Twitter and saw Gortat's first tweet regarding coming to Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights.
My eyes perked up since I live right next to Malcolm X Park and I knew about the other instances when Gortat randomly gave away tickets. When I saw his next tweet saying the Polish Embassy, I grabbed my coat and immediately booked it, knowing how close it was to the Park and my home.
I was simply hoping I could get a ticket. I just didn't expect to be person #1.
(Albert's note: Manchester United won, 3-0)
BF: How was the experience meeting Gortat and Polish Ambassador Ryszard Schneff in person?
Douglas: Surreal and Incredible. When I gave the "secret" word "Polish Heritage Night" and was let in past the gates, I tensed up as I had no idea what was going on. Next thing I know, when I entered the Embassy, what looked like the entire Embassy staff were lined up on the stairs cheering my entrance, waving their Polish flags.
I made my way up high fiving the people on my way up, After doing so, Gortat and Ambassador Schnepf were there.
I was internally screaming over seeing them and yet, Gortat was being really cheery and friendly to me at first sight. Both Gortat and Ambassador Schnepf shook my hand and the other winners. This photo actually showed winner #2 shaking his hands.
But anyway, Gortat and Ambassador Schnepf took selfies with me. Gortat then posted it on his Twitter.
First winner!!! pic.twitter.com/LiOROQNp4W— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) February 22, 2016
I'm still in awe of how tall Gortat was when I saw him in person.
(Albert's note: Winner #2 has revealed himself and is just as stoked!)
Thanks for featuring me in your article, I always read your articles and it's nice to finally be in one!! https://t.co/Jtuogn1tw0— Elder (@BenjaminDover_) February 23, 2016
BF: Do you have any extra perks with your tickets?
Douglas: As far as I know, there are no extra perks with them. I was told to come by and visit a booth the Embassy will have at the Verizon Center during the March 5th game so who knows?
BF: Last question, do you think the Wizards make the playoffs in 2016 or not?
Douglas: Tough to say. Leaping past the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls is going to be pretty difficult. It may hinge on how well Markieff Morris integrates himself with the squad and if Bradley Beal can stay healthy. That trade feels like it has the markings of either galvanizing the team or causing the season to implode.
There won't be a middle ground of how it'll swing in my eyes. I would love to see it happen and of course, I'll be rooting for them all the way through.
Thanks again to Douglas for answering our questions about his experience getting tickets from the Polish Embassy. Man, I'm pumped up for March 5 and we're still nearly a couple weeks away!