Marcin Gortat interview
Marcin Gortat came to Orlando in July just hoping to make an impression on new Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. Not only did Gortat make an impact, but he impressed the Magic so much that they signed him to a guaranteed contract and gave him a shot in the NBA much sooner than anyone expected.
While his rookie season had its ups and downs, Gortat worked hard and kept soaking in as much information as he could, just in case Van Gundy called his name. While he played just six games during the regular season, when the Magic needed more big bodies to keep up the with athletic Toronto Raptors, Van Gundy looked the bench, and to his seven-foot big man for a lift.
Gortat didnít put up gaudy number in the series, but he did have an impact playing in four of the five games in the series, and his role could increase if Orlando matches up with Detroit in the next round.
InsideHoops.com caught up with the big man from Poland for a quick chat, just after the Magic clinched their first playoff series victory in 12 years on Monday night.
InsideHoops.com: Tell me about your journey from a summer league player to a playoff contributer.
Marcin Gortat: Itís amazing, seriously. I had the same story four years ago when I started playing basketball and I came for the first time to Germany. I didnít play the whole season and at the end of the season I started playing in the playoffs. Since that moment I started playing every game. We have a similar situation right now. I didnít play through the whole season and I started playing in the playoffs. Itís really amazing, Iím really happy right now. The coach is saying thereís improvement and Iím going to keep improving every day and try to develop my game every day. Looking back eight months when I was fighting during the summer league trying to get on the team, you canít compare. Coach told us after the game, find 10 minutes when you can think about the last 8-9 months, and what youíve done to be in this situation. I had those 10 minutes already in my head. I was thinking about this many times and a year ago I watch watching those games on TV back in Europe at three oíclock in the morning, now Iím on the floor playing backup to Dwight Howard. It was amazing, everything is looking like a great story for me, so Iíll just keep working hard.
InsideHoops.com: How many friends and family text message you or call you after a game like tonight's?
Gortat: I havenít checked my phone yet but usually I get like 15-20 messages. I still have people sitting up to until 3 oíclock in the morning to see my games. They try to support me all the time. Itís a great story, thereís nothing else like this. Hopefully one day my best friends and my family will come and watch me play.
InsideHoops.com: Will they be in the U.S. for your next series?
Gortat: I donít think so, my parents don't have that much free time. We have a problem between the countries trying to get a visa, too. Thatís kind of a problem for me. To do everything we need some time to do the paperwork.