October 7, 2012: Gortat wants to change uniform number from 4 to 13
LA JOLLA, Calif. — The NBA still had not officially approved the sign-and-trade agreement sending Steve Nash to the L.A. Lakers, when Marcin Gortat made a request: Would he be able to wear No. 13 this season?
He could not.
Only three players in the history of the Suns franchise have worn No. 13:
Gus Johnson (1972)
Luc Longley (1999-2000)
Nash (1996-1998, 2004-2012)
Gortat wants to be the fourth.
“That’s my plan when I get back (to Phoenix),” he said following the team’s intrasquad scrimmage Saturday. “I heard the procedure to change numbers is going to take the whole year.”
Gortat has worn No. 13 his entire professional playing career (Orlando Magic), including on the Polish National Team.
“I’m going to try to change to the 13,” he said. “I understand that Steve is going to probably get the number…the jersey is going to go on to the ceiling. It’s going to be hanged. But, hopefully, I’m going to be able to play for the next six, seven, eight, maybe nine years. I’m going to try to get that number.”
Gortat knows there will be people who don’t want No. 13 worn by anyone else.
“I’m going to call Steve,” he said. “I’m 100 percent sure that—I’m quite sure, maybe not 100 percent. I’m quite sure he’ll be fine with that if I’m going to carry his number. I’m going to obviously do this with pride.
“That’s the number I’ve been playing in my entire life. Since I’m here in Phoenix I’m playing only with a different number. I’m definitely going to try to change that. I’m definitely going to try to change that.”
Gortat also informed the media during training camp that he has a new nickname.
Yes, he still goes by the “Polish Machine” but because he came into training camp in such good shape—as a result of playing for Poland in the offseason, there is now a new name he goes by.
“We got the new nickname: Polish Gazelle,” he said. “Trust me; I can outrun everybody, even point guards.”