Marcin Gortat tends to spread himself thin between basketball and all of his off-court activities, from flying in kids from his camps in Poland to giving away tickets to random fans for every home game via social media and sitting down to eat with them.
In the midst of his shaky start to the season with the Wizards, it's easy to ignore that he doesn't take his $60 million contract for granted.
“I decided to create more projects here in the United States," he said.
Gortat is donating $200 for every blocked shot to local charities that focus on youth basketball and hockey, education and scholarship, children's health and fitness, military and veterans' affairs and hunger and homelessness. After last night's 109-101 win vs. the Charlotte Hornets, when Gortat tallied two blocks, that raises his season total to 27. Each charity chosen by Gortat will received a minimum of $2,000 from him.
"In the beginning it was rebounds but then we decided blocks. If I’m going to go with blocks, it’s going to give me that extra motivation to go get that block in a game. That’s my goal. I’m hoping to lead the team with at least two blocks a game. I truly believe I’m capable,' Gortat, who averages 1.2 after 22 games played, said earlier in the season. "I just have to commit to it."
Team dinner !!! With winners:))) pic.twitter.com/zPIkLEh3dw
— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) November 13, 2015
With the way the Wizards are playing reaching two per game will be challenging. Against Charlotte, they switched everything which took Gortat away from the basket and challenging guards and forwards at the three-point line. In the first quarter of an upset against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Gortat had a season-high four blocks.
The Wizards had an off day in the middle of a hectic stretch of games, and Gortat was at Verizon Center hosting boys and girls from Poland that he flew into town. He ran them through drills, took them around the city and had them attend a game and meet his teammates. And in between all of this, Gortat had to return to his country to tend to his mother while she was hospitalized and missed three games.
Gortat's season began by donating two tickets to every home game to fans who follow him or the team's social media accounts to find out about his giveaways. He gets swarmed. He has struggled at times but is averaging 12.8 points and 9.0 rebounds.
"I want to interact with fans and appreciate everything they do for us. They're really supporting me," said Gortat, who changed from No. 4 to No. 13 and created the MG13 "Aim High" Foundation. "It’s really nice when you’re running into people on the street, and everybody says, ' You don’t have to (worry about) your car we’re going to look over it. You can go eat. Don’t worry about it.' It’s very cool."