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
Abe Pollin, Owner of DC Sports Teams, Dies at 85
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.
(Read more Abe Pollin stories.)

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