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Abe Pollin

By Academy of Achievement

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Abe Pollin (1923 - 2009) was Chairman and CEO of Washington Sports and Entertainment Limited Partnership (WSELP), longtime owner of the Washington Wizards basketball team and the Washington Capitals hockey franchise. A building contractor and real estate developer, as well as a sportsman and philanthropist, he built two state-of-the-art multi-million dollar sports facilities, the Capital Centre, in Landover, Maryland, near Washington, D.C., and the Verizon Centre in the heart of downtown. Washington. Pollin moved to Washington with his family from Philadelphia at the age of eight. After graduating from George Washington University in Washington, he worked for his family's construction business for 12 years, before starting a company of his own. In 1964, Pollin and two partners purchased the Baltimore Bullets basketball team. Four years later, he became the team's sole owner. He moved the Bullets to Washington in 1973 and secured a National Hockey League expansion franchise for Washington. Pollin built the innovative Capital Centre to house the new team; it also became a venue for concerts by the world's most popular entertainers. Pollin renamed his basketball team the Washington Wizards in 1997, reflecting the spirit of the Antiviolence Campaign he had initiated in the Washington area,. With the participation of Wizards and Capitals players, the Anti-Violence Campaign provides conflict resolution programs, educational programs and scholarship opportunities to area students. Despite his success in Landover, it was always Abe Pollin's dream to bring both of his teams to downtown Washington. In 1998, Pollin achieved his long-sought goal with completion of the Verizon Center originally known as the MCI Centre, the $200 million sports and entertainment complex that led the revitalization of downtown Washington. In 1999, Pollin sold the Capitals to AOL executive Ted Leonsis for $200 million, but he retained his interest in the Wizards, becoming the longest-serving owner in the National Basketball Association. In this podcast, recorded a the Academy of Achievement's 1999 Summit in Washington, D.C., Pollin recalls his acquisition of his basketball team, and tells the student delegates that if goal is worth achieving they should persevere, whatever the odds, and never take no for an answer.

Abe Pollin
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  • Free
  • Category: Business
  • Language: English

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