The Wizards held Polish Heritage Night on Saturday when they played the Pelicans. The best thing about the night was the Wizards’ 105-91 win of course. But last night was a bit more than just the 17th straight home team for the men in Monumental Red.
Saturday’s crowd had a large number of Polish fans in attendance because Marcin Gortat was in town because it was Polish Heritage Night at Verizon Center. Let’s go through a quick run through of what went down before, during, and after Saturday’s game:
Gortat’s appearance on PTI
The game was on Saturday, but Gortat promoted the game earlier this week. His most notable outreach effort was on Wednesday, when he was a guest on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption. The Wizards also chronicled his journey doing so below:
Celebrating Polish Heritage Weekend at the Embassy of Poland
The Wizards hosted Polish Heritage Night on Saturday. But for Poles and many Polish Americans, it’s part of a heritage weekend. On Friday night, the Polish Embassy in D.C. held a lecture which included introductory remarks from Polish Ambassador Piotr Wilczek, and a conversation between Gortat, actress Alicja Bachleda-Curuś, UFC straw weight champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk and CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, who is Polish American. The video is below:
After the lecture, Gortat, Bachleda-Curuś, Jędrzejczyk, and Blitzer took a picture with a some other Wizards players, including Frenchman Ian Mahinmi and Czech Tomas Satoransky. Mahinmi’s and Satoransky’s attendance was notable because like Gortat, all three are from European Union member states.
The Polish Embassy was out in full force for Saturday’s game where they hosted a table with giveaways.
Many fans also had Polish Machine thundersticks for the game. They proved to be useful whenever a Pelicans player was at the free throw line.
Before the game, Gortat received a loud ovation from the crowd:
He definitely came out motivated for this one. And Gortat had a very strong performance where he scored 12 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. He grabbed 10 of those in the FIRST QUARTER! He also made some emphatic buckets, like this slam dunk early in the game:
Honoring the Polish military
Gortat has made it a point to honor troops during these nights. This year was no different as one veteran was honored before the game:
and two more were honored at halftime:
Bachleda-Curuś, Jędrzejczyk hang out
Gortat’s guests of honor sat courtside, and took this pic:
Jędrzejczyk beats up G-Wiz
So, the photo above showed some tough poses. And as you might have guessed, G-Wiz threw some shade at “Joanna Violence:”
Well, Jędrzejczyk got the memo. She faced off against the Wizards’ mascot, and gave him the beatdown:
Unfortunately, G-Wiz didn’t follow our advice when dealing with championship level MMA fighters. Don’t make a wrong move or challenge them. At all. Because beat downs are going to happen!
Cheerleaders Wroclaw performs
The Polish cheerleading group performed during halftime. After the Wizards’ victory, they joined the Wizards Girls in an impromptu dance:
After the game, Gortat gave interviews to a large number of Polish journalists
And he also came out after the game to speak to Polish fans who came before the game.
I don’t have a video of that at this time, but there was a big crowd in the stands past 10 p.m:
and he took selfies with fans until it was almost 11 p.m. SO IT HAPPENED!
As a point of reference, the Wizards game ended before 9:20 p.m. Most players probably went home. Instead, Gortat was still at Verizon Center for a while after that.
Once again, it Polish Heritage Night was a success at Verizon Center. It’s always great to get an extra boost from fans who live near Gortat’s childhood stomping grounds.