When former Wizards fan-favorite Marcin Gortat used to come up against some of the NBA's greats during his playing days, certain games turned into recruiting opportunities.
Especially his games against the DMV's own, Kevin Durant.
"I tried to talk to KD about, you know, I said, 'KD I'll get you my Rolls Royce and I'll get you my house for a weekend, I need you to sign with the Wizards,'" Gortat told Chris Miller with a chuckle in a special interview airing before Saturday night's game against the Dallas Mavericks on Wizards Pregame Live.
The story came up when Gortat was explaining the immense respect he's had for Durant's former Oklahoma City teammate Russell Westbrook ever since his own playing days. While Gortat would get Durant to bite on his pregame and in-game schtick, the Polish hammer said he witnessed a few instances when Westbrook would go up to his own teammates to tell them to stop laughing no matter what the score was.
"I just got to tell you, I love that. That's a Paul Pierce attitude. He's a little feisty too," Gortat said.
Westbrook would scratch Gortat's face coming down the lane as the unapologetic slasher he is, and Gortat loved that about him. It's Westbrook's competitive drive that has not only helped him crush the franchise triple-doubles record in just his first season in Washington but also helped his new team overcome a tough start to the season to push for a chance to earn a play-in spot for the postseason.
Durant, on the other hand, would entertain Gortat's half-joking recruitment attempts whenever the Thunder came to the District.
"I was helping. I was helping (general manager) Tommy (Sheppard), I was helping (former general manager) Ernie (Grunfeld). It was the time everyone was talking about KD, obviously later he signed with Golden State, but hey, everybody was trying to get KD. I was like let me help out," Gortat said.
"Obviously it was more of a joke for me, I don't have any power to convince KD to come to play for Washington, but I was doing my part. I was being me, I was fooling around."
Gortat never took himself too seriously during his five seasons with the Wizards, and much of the D.C. faithful adored him for his personality. No matter how much the former Wizards center joked around with opposing stars during games, he always made sure to come prepared.
"You gotta do the job early. If you're starting the NBA season, you can't get ready a week before. You've got to give it at least two months before, and it's the same thing with signing players," Gortat said with a smile. "You can't expect players to sign with you right when free agency opens up, you gotta do your work earlier, man. That's what I did."