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Reebok to Marcin Gortat: Jordan Tattoo Won't Fly

Jun 9, 2009 – 3:28 PM
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Tim Povtak

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Marcin GortatORLANDO -- There is good and bad to the bright lights of the NBA Finals -- even for a relatively unknown backup center like Marcin Gortat of the Orlando Magic.

Gortat, in just his second NBA season, and the only player in the league from Poland, becomes a restricted free agent this summer. He has helped himself immensely with consistent performances during this playoff run, attracting attention from other teams around the league.

He also received an uncomfortable phone call last weekend from Reebok, with whom he has a shoe contract. Representatives of the company were not happy to see a picture of him from Game 1 in a Polish newspaper that prominently displayed his Michael Jordan/Nike logo tattoo on his lower right leg.

Reebok asked him either to wear higher socks Tuesday night to cover up the tattoo, or to apply makeup so it will not be noticed through the rest of the NBA Finals.

"They called and said I had to do something about it, but that ain't going to happen,'' Gortat said after Tuesday morning's workout.

"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. I don't think they are paying me enough to take it off.''

Gortat would not say how much his Reebok contract is worth beyond the shoes he is provided to wear, but he said it was minimal compared to what the stars of the league receive.

"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,'' he said. "I like that. Reebok will have to get used to that.''

Gortat tattooGortat has averaged just 12 minutes a game through the playoffs, averaging 3.3 points and 3.5 rebounds as a backup to Dwight Howard. But his role in the Finals is becoming more significant because the Magic also are using him as a backup power forward, helping against the Lakers big front line.

Gortat has averaged 18 minutes, four points and 5.5 rebounds in the two losses against the Lakers. He expects to play even more Tuesday night in Game 3, hoping to specifically slow down Lakers sixth man Lamar Odom, who has been huge in the Finals. Odom has averaged 15 points and 11 rebounds against the Magic.

"I promise you, he won't score as much. He won't get as many rebounds if I'm out there against him,'' Gortat said. "Other guys on our team have to stop Kobe Bryant. I have to stop Lamar Odom. I can do that. I'm supposed to come off the bench and stop him. If I do that, it will give us a better chance to win."

NBA Tattoo Photos

    Orlando Magic center Marcin Gortat received a phone call from shoe sponsor Reebok because the company was upset about his Michael Jordan/Nike logo tattoo. "They didn't say anything about it when I signed the contract, so it's not going anywhere," said Gortat. Click through to check out more tattoo photos and see if you can match the NBA star to the ink.

    Fernando Medina, NBAE / Getty Images

    'Kool': This Nuggets forward has tattoos on his arms, but the one in this unique place, carries his nickname.


    Renaldo Balkman: The forward spent his first two years with the Knicks, but was traded to Denver before the season.
    Watch Exclusive Video in NBA FanHouse


    'Juice Monster': This rookie reveals his childhood nickname with this tattoo on his left arm. One of his other tats, located on the back of his arms, is a picture of King Kong. He says he got it because, "I'd like that to be my motto, I'm King Kong of the court."

    Andrew D. Bernstein, NBAE / Getty Images

    O.J. Mayo: Mayo lit up the scoreboard in Memphis and averaged a rookie-best 18.5 points this season. He also has played and started every game for the Grizzlies.

    Andrew D. Bernstein, NBAE / Getty Images

    Marley-Inspired: This former player says his tattoo was inspired by Bob Marley ... "I got into Marley pretty heavy. That guy was deep. He was fighting for the rights of his people and, at the same time, equality for everyone."

    Rusty Kennedy, AP

    Brian Grant: The eighth overall pick in the 1994 draft, Grant played for six different teams. The 6-foot-9 forward/center retired in 2006.

    Rusty Kennedy, AP

    The Kiss: This member of the Denver Nuggets has lips tattooed on his neck for his pop star girlfriend.

    Doug Pensinger, Getty Images

    Kenyon Martin: Martin says he got the lips tattoo for his rapper girlfriend, Trina. The power forward, who never shies from confrontation, has played for both the Nuggets and Nets in his nine-year NBA career.

    Doug Pensinger, Getty Images

    Grizzly Bear: As a tribute to his home state of Alaska, this Jazz power forward has a detailed grizzly bear on his left arm.

    Streeter Lecka, Getty Images

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