February 7, 2020 was an important day for Latvian basketball fans. Three Latvian players met in Washington, DC’s Capitol One Arena – Kristaps Porziņģis (Dallas Mavericks), Dāvis Bertāns and Anžejs Pasečņiks from Washington Wizards. The American Latvian Association took the opportunity to call together Latvian basketball fans, regardless of their favorite NBA team.
The game was attended by not only DC, Maryland, and Virginia area fans, but also by Latvians from other further states, and even from Latvia!
The evening started with a Happy Hour across the street from the arena, where Latvians quickly made new friends. Thanks to arrangements by the Wizards’ staff, those who arrived early for the game were able to get into the arena early and watch the teams’ warm-ups. We were all soon sent to our real seats, but not before Kristaps Porziņģis spotted us and gave us a wave! Those that had watched the warm-ups also had the opportunity to go down to the game floor and create a “Fan Tunnel” to greet the players.
All in all, the attendees were thrilled with points made by both teams, because either way it would be a victory for Latvians – however, the Wizards win certainly made local Washingtonians even happier!
After the game, all of the Latvian fans rushed to the Devil’s Backbone Lounge in the arena to await Dāvis Bertāns and Anžejs Pasečņiks for a promised Meet & Greet. Mavericks star Kristaps Porziņģis also managed to stop by, making possible a group photo of 200+ Latvian fans and these 3 talented Latvian players from opposing teams.
Friday night’s game ended up being not only a fierce matchup between Dallas and Washington, but also a terrific opportunity for the Latvian community to come together and share in their pride of Latvia’s basketball talent!
Marisa Gudrais, Executive Director