On January 12, the Wizards hosted their fifth annual Polish Heritage Night. The presence of starting center Marcin Gortat is a major reason why of course, because he’s from Lodz, Poland. Each night also seems to be getting better with each passing year. I’ll go so far to say that these nights may even continue after Gortat leaves the Wizards for another team or preferably, retires due to old age.
With that in mind, I’d like to see the Wizards and Mystics have more heritage nights for their non-American players. Our international players are proud to be from their countries and haven’t shown signs to the contrary. Also, Washington is the capital and seat of government of the United States. All the embassies are here in D.C. so coordination shouldn’t be too difficult, right?
If Gortat gets to play a home game where he feels at home, why can’t the other non-American players? Currently, the Wizards and Mystics have players who are natives of the Czech Republic, France, and Belgium. All three countries are in the European Union, and all have their Embassies in D.C. Let’s explore the possibilities.
Can we have another Czech Heritage Night now that Sato’s coming into his own?
The Wizards actually had a small Czech Heritage Night last season, but I didn’t see a repeat of that scheduled in 2017-18 to the best of my knowledge. So feel free to correct me if it has happened.
Though the Czech Republic only has a bit over 10 million people today, there are also over 1.4 million Czech Americans. When you combine that with Tomas Satoransky’s improved play and increased role as the Wizards’ backup point guard, I don’t see any reason to stop them.
You gotta have a French Heritage Night too!
France is America’s first official ally. And we have a Frenchman on the team with Ian Mahinmi back in good health. Mahinmi may not be the starting center as long as Gortat remains in Washington. But again, he’s been in good health all year after missing most of last season due to various injuries. Finally he’s from a country that many of us are quite fascinated about when we’re interested in touring Europe. Every time I hear someone is going to Western Europe, Paris is always one of the first cities that comes to mind!
But France is much more than just Paris folks! Mahinmi’s from Rouen, Normandy, which is over 80 miles northwest of the “City of Love.” No way that the Normans consider themselves like the Parisians.
And can we have a Belgian Heritage Night for the Mystics this summer?
Emma Meesseman is one of the Mystics’ All-Star players. If you look at her Twitter or Instagram feeds, you’ll see that she’s enthusiastic about Belgium. So, why not hold a night this summer about them? After all, July 21 is Nationale feestdag van België (Dutch)/Fête national belge (French)/Belgian National Day.
Belgian National Day is analogous to the 4th of July in the United States, when the first Belgian King took the throne in 1831 while they were fighting for independence from the Netherlands. It is also in the middle of the WNBA season. When you add that with some Belgian food, chocolate, and beer, there’s no reason why there can’t be a Belgian Heritage Night for the sixth year pro, right?
Now that I got my peace on cultural nights for our international players here in Washington, I’ll ask you all. Do you want to see more cultural heritage nights like Polish Heritage Night has been the last several years? Sound off in the comments below.