Abe Pollin, Owner of DC Sports Teams, Dies at 85
Developer, philanthropist brought NBA, NHL to capital
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2009 6:23 PM CST
In this Jan. 8, 2002, file photo, Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin shakes hands with star Michael Jordan.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Abe Pollin, the son of Russian immigrants who parlayed success in housing development into the ownership of Washington’s NBA and NHL franchises, died today of a rare neurological disease; he was 85. Pollin’s philanthropic efforts boosted many of the capital’s poorer areas, and he put $220 million of his own money into building the Verizon Center—home of the Wizards and Capitals, and a transformative presence in downtown DC.

“Abe Pollin reflects an ownership style that was forged in a different era,” NBA commissioner David Stern told the Post of the decided old-schooler, who saw the then-Bullets win the NBA title in 1978. Pollin brought the Capitals to the city in the NHL’s 1974 expansion; he later sold that team, and a minority stake in the Wizards.