Team: Orlando Magic
Position: Center / Power Forward
Weight: 240 lbs.
Marcin Gortat's collection of tattoos doesn't really stand out in the same way as the 3 previous NBA Tattoo Manifesto examinees. They aren't as outlandish as Marquis Daniels' 'Only the Strong Survive' tattoo or as absurd as DeShawn Stevenson's neck tattoo of Abraham Lincoln, but Marcin's tattoos stand out because they have interesting stories and meaning behind them.
Don't worry. I certainly haven't run out of crazy tattoos to make fun of. (It's the NBA. There's a lot of material.) I just thought it might be a good idea to pick on a white guy for a change since I got called a racist by a random reader last week. Allow me a second to tell that reader to fuck himself.
As much as I appreciated the comment calling me a racist, I must defend my honor by pointing out that all I did was post some lyrics. Judging by the tone of the note, I know you're either one of two people:
1) A black guy who's hyper-sensitive about any white person commenting on the culture he considers his own; or
2) An angry, white douche filled with guilt you've learned from your college professors about acts that you've never actually participated in. (Believe me, I know what its like to be this person. I was there at one point in my life. It sucked. I got over it. My life is much better because I got over it.)
Anyway, the point is that my comment was not an expression of racism (although I could see how part 1 might be construed that way). It was merely meant to point out the stupidity of labeling a tribute to your son with the title of an album featuring lyrics about rape, murder, and necrophilia. And that's only in the first verse of "Bring Your Whole Crew".
Anyway, go fuck yourself.
Exhibit #1: Janusz Gortat
Marcin's best tattoo is one he got to commemorate his father's accomplishments. His father, Janusz Gortat, is a retired professional boxer who earned bronze medals for Poland at two consecutive Olympic games: 1972 (Munich) and 1976 (Montreal). I feel like this is what tattoos are meant to be - tributes to meaningful people and experiences in our lives. Good for you Marcin!
I will say this though: when I first saw the tattoo I immediately thought that it was an image of Jack Arnold, the dad from The Wonder Years. Take another look. Other than having their hair parted different ways, the two are identical. I kind of like to think that Marcin Gortat and Wayne Arnold might be brothers. Just imagine the fate that would have befallen Kevin. We would all know how to say 'butthead' in English and Polish.
Creating cultural understanding - its what the NBA Tattoo Manifesto is all about.
Exhibit #2: Jumpman & Basketball Location: Right Calf
This tattoo is cool just because of a story surrounding it.
When the Magic made the finals in 2009, Marcin Gortat was one of the pleasant surprises throughout their playoff run. He sparked the Magic in a pivotal game 6 against the Philadelphia 76ers for which Dwight Howard was suspended. Gortat responded big, scoring 16 points and grabbing 18 rebounds in his first playoff start, resulting in an Orlando blowout.
During that game, the tattoo on Gortat's leg came to the attention of Reebok, one of Gortat's sponsors. Just before the start of the NBA Finals, Gortat was approached by some Reebok execs about wearing his socks higher or wearing a patch to hide the tattoo on his leg during the Finals.
"I've been wearing it 4-5 years now, and it helped me get to the NBA," said Gortat. "They didn't say anything about it when I signed the contract, so it's not going anywhere."
Eat that Reebok!
Exhibit #3: Goblin Tattoo
Location: Upper Left Arm
Sorry about the blurriness of that image. I had to enlarge a very small portion of a much larger image in order to get a shot of it. Pixelation is a small price to pay in order to actually find out what that tattoo was. I literally spent half an hour examining it. At first I thought it was a basketball engulfed in flames. I wasn't sure so I asked Mary; she thought it was a bird. It was only after I blew it up that I realized that its some kind of goblin. Marcin is such a fan of Dungeons & Dragons that he wanted to emblazen his affections on his arm in perpetuity.
This got me thinking about what other nerd tattoos might be in the NBA, so I started canvassing the web in search of NBA dorks. The first person I searched for: Tim Duncan. No matter what league you're in, finding an athletic freak with dorkish qualities should always start with that league's version of "Mr. Fundamental". Timmy didn't disappoint.
Here are some of the other nerdy NBA tattoos that I tracked down:
Tim Duncan - Wizard
Carlos Boozer - Knight
Derrick Rose - Wizard
The nerdiest of those? Easily Derrick Rose's. Apparently his grandmother used to call him "Pooh Bear" when he was a kid, so he decided to convert the nickname into that of a wizard, making 'Poohdini'. I don't care how much of a badass you make the wizard look like Derrick, its still a wizard and it makes you look like a fucking nerd - especially when you highlight it with 'Poohdini'.
And its cool of Boozer to 'pull a Steve-O' and tattoo a picture of himself on his own body. Congratulations Carlos, you pulled the same move as someone who has spent the majority of his life strung out on crack and methamphetamine