Marcin Gortat is the only active Polish-born player in the NBA. (Barry Gossage/Getty Images)
October is Polish heritage month, and with only one regular-season game this month — at home against the Trail Blazers tonight — the Suns, with the lone active Polish-born player in the NBA (Marcin Gortat) on their roster, decided to hold Polish heritage night.
Only one problem — they traded Gortat to the Wizards for Emeka Okafor on Monday.
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"The timing of the trade caught Gortat off guard, too, because he assumed that he would at least make it through the first week of the regular season," wrote Michael Lee of The Washington Post. "The Suns planned to have Polish heritage night for their home opener on Wednesday and Gortat had flown in 25 people from his native country — including soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, the Polish minister of sport, the Polish ambassador and children from his basketball camp — for what was expected to be a fun week in Phoenix. But while they were arriving in Arizona, Gortat was catching a flight to start his new life in Washington."
And Gortat wasn't pleased.
"The last 24 hours have been hell. It was hard for me, at the beginning, but this is life," he said. "This is a business. The NBA is a big, big business.”
According to the Polish American Congress Arizona Division's Facebook page, people who bought tickets to the game using the code "POLISH," will get free tickets when the Wizards play in Phoenix in January, and tonight's Polish heritage night will go on as planned.