Throughout his tenure as a DC sports owner, Ted Leonsis has never failed to maintain a direct connection with the media and his fan base (take notes Dan Snyder). On Thursday night, Teddy addressed the media for nearly 40 minutes, touching on several topics including the complete overhaul of the team along with the growth and progression of his players, John Wall’s injury and the lack of having a magic wand.
It was a discussion that fittingly precedes the start of a pivotal third year of the team makeover. Leonsis offered continued optimism about the direction of the franchise and remained content about his conventional method of: “draft, develop, and retain. Add through trades and get free agents at the right time.” He claimed that the Wizards are developing the capacity of a good team which will in turn attract free agents. Leonsis also praised the city of Washington as a stellar market and an area of attraction. Georgetown Cupcake, anyone?
Upon receiving the bad tidings of John Wall’s injury, Leonsis mentioned that his initial concern was replaced by the relief of knowing the injury was discovered quickly and in a manner that will not result as a long-term detriment for John or the team.
"When I first heard about it, I thought: 'bad timing.' But after I got the facts I was relieved. I give our staff a lot of credit because John felt pain over the summer and was told he had bursitis. It was our staff and Ernie that just said it doesn’t feel right and kept digging. They found this preventatively early. So when I heard no surgery, rest and eight weeks, I was relieved.”
And yeah, about that magic wand: Leonsis was referring to the fans’ desire of having him “wave the magic wand” and apply the 3-star “super-team” scheme that has recently brought..or rather..bought success for a few teams. Instead, Leonsis said he “lost the magic wand” and opted for the more conventional, “old fashioned and authentic” way of building a team; the way that is “built to last.” Ted highlighted the dramatic roster turnover since his succession of Abe Polin in 2009, stating that there isn’t a single player on the roster from when he bought the team, and asked whether anyone else had ever tried that. Pretty doubtful.
Over the past few weeks, Leonsis has faced several setbacks. Aside from his star basketball player being shelved for the next 2 months, Ted has also had to deal with his hockey team being locked out as well as his women’s basketball team finishing with the worst record in the WNBA, only to unluckily fail to acquire the top overall pick in next year’s draft. Leonsis closed out his address with an inspiring response to a question regarding these setbacks:
“I kind of play the ball where it lies. That’s the thing about sports. It’s the hardest industry and business I know. What other business do ping-pong balls drive a lot of your success, and make your investment worth more or less? It’s why when you overcome all of those things and you win, why it’s so exhilarating. That’s why the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is the biggest payoff in any business.”
A true tear jerker right there. I swear, the calm and assuring approach that Leonsis takes is nothing short of commendable. I feel like he would destroy a Presidential debate. Now how's that for a ponder, Wizards fans?