Wednesday, November 25, 2009

D.C. Mourns the Passing of Sports Icon Abe Pollin

D.C. sports fans and the Washington community are remembering sports icon Abe Pollin today, after his passing yesterday at the age of 85. Pollin was the visionary that brought the Verizon Center to D.C., creating a world-class entertainment facility and revitalizing the downtown area. In the sports community, he will be remembered for bringing the Washington Wizards and our beloved Capitals to the city and supporting them through thick and thin. In addition to his business successes and notoriety as owner of two professional sports franchises, he was also an extraordinary philanthropist who gave his all to the city he loved so dearly. Pollin built housing for people of all income levels and spearheaded countless charity drives and events to provide for the city's less fortunate.

He sold the Capitals to majority owner Ted Leonsis in 1999. Here is Leonsis' official statement on the passing of Abe Pollin:

Nov. 24, 2009

Ted Leonsis
Majority Owner
Lincoln Holdings

Statement on the passing of Abe Pollin

We are all saddened by the news of Mr. Pollin’s passing. We extend our deepest sympathies to Irene, Robert, Jimmy, the rest of the Pollin family and his many friends and join them, and all of Washington, in mourning a great man.

Mr. Pollin was a model philanthropist, an icon in the sports world and the individual responsible for founding the Capitals and bringing an NBA championship to our city. He was the catalyst in building a fabulous downtown arena that revitalized the surrounding area. Anyone walking down 7th Street, seeing the throngs of excited fans, the host of popular restaurants, hotels and nightspots, can attest to the lasting legacy of Mr. Pollin’s deep commitment to D.C.

My partners and I were proud to work with him and his family during the last ten years and we are committed to continuing his tradition of building exciting, championship-caliber teams. When Lincoln Holdings bought the Capitals and a substantial percentage of Washington Sports & Entertainment from Mr. Pollin in 1999, he gave us the exclusive right to purchase the remaining portion of the Wizards, Verizon Center and the local Ticketmaster franchise. That agreement established an orderly process for conducting that transaction and it is our intention to follow that process. Now is not the time, however, to discuss that subject; our focus now should be on mourning a great man who has done so much for our city.

Tonight, as I walk down Abe Pollin Way into the Verizon Center to watch the Caps take on the Buffalo Sabres, I'll be sure to say a little prayer and a big thank you in honor of this great man who gave so much to our city....

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