Tag Archives: ted leonsis

Basketball is basketball and Arenas deserves to stay in Washington.

The Washington Wizards are a new team with only a few pre-scandal players still on the roster. John Wall is now the leader of this team, JaVale McGee is a rising star and Ted Leonsis is now the owner of the franchise. That’s what we should focus on, right?

Nope. Gilbert Arenas is, and it’s not for the reasons when he was the star of this franchise.

He came to media day sporting a scruffy beard, a subdued demeanor and not a hint of a smile. It’s obvious that Agent 0 is a changed man. He no longer wears his trademark “0,” shedding the nickname he embraced from his rags to riches days.

He’s number 9 now and still deserves your attention.

“I lost all feeling a long time ago,” Arenas told reporters. “Basketball is basketball.” He couldn’t be more right. It’s no longer what takes place off the court, it’s what he does on it. That’s what truly needs to matter now.

Arenas was crucified by the DC media and fans for the incidents that ignited a firestorm last season, but now he is back and Wizards fans may be forced to embrace him.

And you should too because people deserve second chances, especially when they’ve paid the price for their mistakes.

I was one of the people that tore apart Arenas for the decisions he made, but he served his time and understands the consequences of his actions. He spent time in prison and a halfway house, something a large majority of the population cannot even fathom. The drama is gone and this is a new organization but Arenas is still here. So what’s the problem? There is none.

Redemption is the key word in this instance and Wizards fans need to give him a shot at it.

Arenas is under contract until 2014, though many expect him out the door before then. Even Arenas has said he expects it.

“Teach John [Wall]the ins and outs of the game and then eventually go on and move on, and I’m on my way,” Arenas said after the Wizards preseason win against Dallas.

I don’t expect that to happen largely because of the three major story lines I mentioned at the top of this post.

Wall is taking over the point guard position this season, forcing Arenas to shooting guard, a spot critics have said he’s too small for. While he won’t be as effective moving out of the way, he can still contribute like the elite player he was before the injuries and suspension.

He won’t just be mentoring Wall, but the rest of the team, including McGee. You could argue that no one in the league has seen more and gone through as many ups and downs as Arenas. In any situation, Arenas can mentor and he doesn’t necessarily have to do it in front of the media so we won’t be able to evaluate the impact he will have on the team.

Leonsis is an owner who can and has embraced Arenas. I’ve said time and time again Leonsis is the best owner in sports and I don’t doubt his ability to help the once-troubled star.

Forget the psychoanalysis of Arenas and think about the statistics. Forget the character criticisms and think about the benefits he can have on a young team. His teammates like him and now all that matters is what he does on the court. Let’s embrace Arenas again and stop crucifying a player that has paid his price.

Thank you for your continued support of DMV Sports. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions feel free to email me at akecke@gmail.com.


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Leonsis: “I’m gonna re-do everything.”

The fan experience at Verizon Center will drastically change under Leonsis.

Since Ted Leonsis took over as owner of the Wizards and the Verizon Center, DC sports fans have been clamoring for change. Known as a man of the fans, Leonsis has already spoken up about change not only on the court, but also within the Verizon Center as well.

It’s obvious that Leonsis wants to put championship banners in the rafters of the Phone Booth, after making the decision to take down the Mystics attendance banners, but he also wants changes to the way DC sports fans take in the game in the Chinatown arena.

The king of transcribing radio shows, Dan Steinberg is the provider of all quotes within this post.

Leonsis promised hundreds of changes saying, “I’m gonna re-do everything.”

That includes the overall experience of how fans will take in Wizards games. That means turning down the music and chant starters. Thank you.

Another idea brought to the table is dimming the lights not on the court to make the atmosphere more like the legendary Madison Square Garden. I have not witnessed a game in person at MSG, but from others who have, it makes the court feel more like a stage with the spectators more like audience members at a play.

One of our personal favorites is the cup-holders proposed at urinals in the mens bathrooms. Apparently many fans have complained about the lack of a place to put their beers (not sodas apparently) while taking a break from the action on the court. Clearly, Leonsis has his priorities straight. No, seriously, that wasn’t sarcastic at all. It sounds like a fantastic idea.

“So they go to the bathroom and they put their beer [cups] in their mouth,” he said. “Isn’t that great? See that image in your mind’s eye. We’ve literally been putting little ledges over the urinals so that people can put their cups, right? We know that sounds [funny], the ketchup sounds funny, building a little cup holder over the urinals, but we’re gonna do hundreds of those kind of things, so the experience is great and it improves and fans know we listen to them.”

Is this change we can believe in, or another dirty Washington scam?

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“Welcome to DC, John Wall” video is all kinds of awkward.

Just to put this out on the table, the John Wall dance is one of the dumbest things dances I’ve ever seen. No one looks cool doing it, not even Mr. Wall himself. With that being said, I’m glad John Wall was drafted by the Wizards and so are a lot of other people. I guess that’s why they put the above video together.

This video, though, is all kinds of awkwardness. You’ve got a bunch of random people and area athletes doing the dance on video, which usually adds up to exactly what we got in this video: weirdness.

Which is why I posted the video and took screen grabs throughout it. .gif’s would obviously be able to show the awkwardness better, but this is what I’ve got, so no complaining. Special appearances from Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman, Donovan McNabb, Adam Dunn, Ted Leonsis and Alex Ovechkin!

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Build your own franchise, part 2: Wiz Kids pick up Heinrich and #17 pick.

Photo via WashingtonWizards.com

June 24, 2010 is a big day for the Washington Wizards as a franchise. Already with the number one overall pick in the draft and the numbers 30 and 35 selection, the Wizards picked up Kirk Heinrich from the Chicago Bulls and added another valuable pick at number 17.

I wrote yesterday on the Build Your Own Franchise game Leonsis has begun playing since buying the team, and the trade today makes that idea even more realistic. Why yes, I am patting myself on the back right now.

This team will obviously need some growing up before they can compete with the elite teams in the Eastern Conference, though the timeline could be accelerated thanks to the immense talent that will be coming to the franchise.

It should also be pointed out the level of individual talent across the four major sports in DC. McNabb wearing burgundy and gold, Ovechkin as arguably the best player in the world, some kid named Strasburg throwing Mach 1 fastballs and soon-to-be Wizard John Wall gunning it with Arenas (pun intended?), DC is quickly become a haven for elite individual athletes.

Now let’s see these teams win championships.

I won’t be able to watch the draft tonight (seven p.m. on ESPN) because of other obligations and will be going out of town this weekend to spend time in the wilderness. Alone. Without Internet. No phone reception. Bears. Machete murderers. Yeah, my weekend is going to be a horror movie.

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Leonsis and the Wizards: Build Your Own Franchise: NBA edition.

Picture via with-malice.com

The Wizards faced nothing but trouble last season for reasons you already know. With Abe Pollin’s passing, the franchise falls into good hands with Ted Leonsis, who bought the remaining 56% of the the Wizards and Verizon Center along with the assets of Monumental Sports & Entertainment. The question going forward is how to rebuild the team with just $29 million owed in contracts for the 2010-11 season.

The likely number one pick, Kentucky’s John Wall will obviously bloat that number for the next few years, but who else will contend in the starting five for the franchise? All indications point to Gilbert Arenas staying in DC because of his large contract (owed $17.7 million next year with that number expanding to $22.3 million in 2013-14). The team has yet to announce whether they will pick Josh Howard’s team option worth $11.8 million, though I believe they will do so.

Andre Blatche ($3.26 million), Randy Foye ($4.79 million), Nick Young ($2.6 million), Al Thornton ($2.8 million), JaVall McGee ($2.46 million) are the other five players with contracts for the 2010-11 season.

Quinton Ross has also informed the team he will pick up the player option on his $1.1 million contract.

Who else?

I’ll come out and say it here: I do not believe they will pick up any other players from the 2009-10 season. That leaves just eight players under contrac and even some of those could be moved.

Add the Wizards #1, #30, and #35 picks and that’s ten players. That’s a Build Your Own Franchise: NBA edition if I’ve ever seen it.

Leonsis already has what he wants in front of him. With the Capitals, Leonsis put people that knew the game in the front office and built the team with the draft. With the current Wizards, he has three draft picks and are also shopping players currently on the roster for another pick in the late first, early second round.

There’s also the possibility of free agency, especially with Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade and of course, LeBron James on the market. The only possibility the Wizards could take a player in free agency would be Bosh. He adds power in the paint and can easily detract attention from Arenas on the outside. The team does not need another point guard and we all know DC fans wouldn’t want LeBron in the nations capital.

General Manager Ernie Grunfield has control over what the team will do personnel wise and Leonsis has already said he will stay on the outside of decision makign as it pertains to the squad.

The rebuilding starts tomorrow at seven p.m. Build Your Own Franchise: NBA edition… begins.

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