Before he entered the league as the 57th overall pick of the 2005 NBA Draft, Polish big man Marcin Gortat got a Michael Jordan logo tattoo. As with most tattoos, it meant something to him. So when Reebok told him he needed to remove it, Gortat refused and unveiled why he’ll never accede to the company’s demands.
Michael Jordan logo
Gortat was a member of the Orlando Magic squad that made it to the 2009 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. Reebok, who had the Polish Hammer under contract, asked him to wear high socks to conceal the Michael Jordan logo ink on his lower right leg. It’s all common sense. Reebok’s parent company is Adidas — the main adversary of Nike, the Jordan brand’s parent company.
Gortat wasn’t about to get bullied by his sponsor over a tattoo. According to him, the tattoo served as his ticket to the NBA. And to a certain extent, his identity and the ink have forever been intertwined. So covering or removing it is like snatching Gortat’s heart and soul.
“They called and said I had to do something about it, but that ain’t going to happen. I’ve been wearing it [the tattoo] 4-5 years now, and it helped me get to the NBA. They didn’t say anything about it when I signed the contract, so it’s not going anywhere. I don’t think they are paying me enough to take it off. I’ve heard from other people that even other players, if they don’t know my name, they know I’m the big white guy with the Jordan tattoo, I like that. Reebok will have to get used to that,” Gortat said, per NBA FanHouse via Yahoo Sports.
Gortat did not just put out the sentimentality clause but also pointed out that he wasn’t legally bound to cover the tattoo. Reports reveal that Reebok stopped giving Gortat free shoes. Based on how Gortat defended his tattoo, we could assume he didn’t lose sleep over it. Maybe he even went to one of Orlando’s tattoo parlors and retouched it.
Cut from the same cloth
Getting a Jordan tattoo sounds pretty typical for a basketball savant-like Gortat. It’s common for current NBA players or aspiring ones to pay homage to their idols either thru tattoos or even jersey numbers. The great LeBron James has admitted time and time again that he wore no. 23 because of MJ.
However, Jordan isn’t just one of Gortat’s heroes. As a matter of fact, he shares a birthday with the GOAT. Jordan was born on February 17, 1963. Gortat came into this world on the same day in 1984, which was the year Jordan entered the NBA. This makes Gortat one of the few who could be mentioned in the same sentence as Michael Jordan - even if it's for an astrological reason.