Abe Pollin, 1923-2009
Posted by representingpuroresu on 11/24/2009
A little over an hour ago, the news broke that Abe Pollin, longtime owner of Washington Sports And Entertainment, which included Verizon Center, the NBA’s Washignton Wizards, the NHL’s Washington Capitals, and the old Capital Centre/USAir Arena (now an outdoor shopping center), is dead. Pollin died earlier this afternoon in his suburban Washington, DC home. He was 85.
I admittedly poked fun at him because of the Wiz and their performance in recent years by calling him “Dishonest Abe”, but he was a great man who did a lot for the Washington, DC area. He and his wife Irene were very active in the community and did a lot of charity work, and Pollin is in the B’nai Brith Hall Of Fame (I think that’s what it’s called), which recognizes outstanding contributions from Jewish-Americans. I have very fond memories of Capital Centre, attending many Capitals games as a child with my father (great times those were) and one Wizards game back when they were the Bullets, as well as other events. I only have been to one event at Verizon Center (a Georgetown baketball game years ago) but it really set off an amazing revitalization of downtown Washington in and around the Chinatown section of the city. And although I didn’t always agree with his decisions running the Wizards, I still admired his dedication, he wanted to own the team until they won another NBA Championship (their last and only one to date was in 1978). He also was very active with Abe’s Kitchen, his charity that helped provide meals and other services to the needy in the city.
The Wizards will host Philadelphia and old coach Eddie Jordan tonight, it’ll be the first time in a very long time, if not ever, that Pollin won’t own the team or probably be there to watch…a testament to the legacy of a great man. He will be very greatly missed.
Thanks for many great memories and for all you did for us and the area, Abe. We’ll always be very grateful. R.I.P. and God Bless…
UPDATE: The funeral will be Friday (November 27) in Washington. A public service is planned for December 8 in Washington, possibly at Verizon Center, the arena that essentially was his life’s lottery ticket. He gambled everything he had on it, paying for it completely out of his own pocket, in the hopes it would revitalize downtown DC like it did. As for the Wizards and Washington Sports & Entertainment, ownership is TBA but it’s likely going to wind up with Caps owner Ted Leonsis, who has/had right of first refusal aka first chance to buy the Wizards when Pollin died or retired.