For years, the owner has been running on fumes. When he’d show up very occasionally to team functions, he’d look so frail it seemed certain he’d be in the obituaries column by week’s end. Pollin said he was going to stick around until his basketball team won another championship, and despite all appearances, with every passing day that seemed possible.
While everything about Abe’s glorious today, Pollin was a punching bag for media and sports radio fans in this town for years. Dan Snyder can moan all he wants that the Washington Post picks on him, but the paper was just as tough on Pollin over time.
You can look it up. In July 2003, the Post ran a two-part series on Pollin that had several gratuitously brutal segments.
Among the key pieces of evidence was the fact that the Bullets used to practice at Bowie State University. The Post series gave a ton of former players a chance to come back and whack Pollin for making them workout there.
A portion of one of the Post’s attacks:
“The bottom of the food chain,” said former Bullet Jim McIlvaine.
“A dump,” [Brent] Price said.
“Disgusting,” said former Bullet and Wizard Tim Legler.
“A bad place,” said former Bullet Rex Chapman.
Here it was, years after Pollin built the downtown arena mostly with his own money, and the paper spent oodles of column inches harping on how cheap the guy was.
Pollin’s front office was Vinny Cerrato-bad for a long time, of course. A few years ago I found the Wizards’ 1999-2000 media guide.
Ike Austin, Mitch Richmond, and coach Gar Heard were on the cover. Austin came to town via a trade for Ben Wallace. Mitch Richmond came here in exchange for Chris Webber. Heard was given the head coach’s job after a long search, and when Pollin introduced him he said Heard “blew me away” with his perfectness for the job. The Wizards put up a 14-30 record before Heard got canned by Michael Jordan.
That 1999-2000 media guide also featured Rod Strickland, whom the Bullets brought here by sending Rasheed Wallace to Portland. And Juwan Howard, who Pollin kept here by offering a seven-year, $105 million contract.
Yeah, he’s cheap.
Pollin already built his own monument—-the building now called Verizon Center. But there’s still a way to pay tribute: Turn the name back to Bullets. That was the team Abe Pollin brought here. That was name of the team he took to the NBA Finals four times in the 1970s—-only two current NBA owners, Jerry (Buss) and Jerry (Reinsdorf), have taken their teams the finals more. And, of course, that’s the name of the team he won the championship with in 1978.
C’mon, Ted. Let Bullets Fever run wild again.
Yesterday, Dan Snyder delivered a turkeys to anybody who showed up at FedExField. Sorta the same thing he’s been doing to Skins fans for 10 years, when you think about it.
Speaking of repetition: Snyder came out of his undisclosed location to say he was sorry to Lindsday Czarniak at a charity event once again. Sure, she’s on the Skins payroll, but, she showed up.
Though maybe Czarniak went to FedExField so Snyder would give her the Friday after Thanksgiving off.
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