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HD Exclusive: One on One with Ted Leonsis

Last week we had the opportunity to talk one on one with Washington Wizards and Monumental Sports majority owner Ted Leonsis. Ted covered a series of topics including what Wes Unseld means to him and Washington, D.C., growing up hating the Washington Bullets as a New York Knicks fan, John Wall‘s impressive knowledge of basketball history and the importance of the relationship between owner and star player. We’ve included some of the highlights below.

On Wes Unseld:

“Most iconic Bullet/Wizard player ever….and just had this way about him…had one of what I think the signature moves of all time in rebound and throwing the ball down court as an outlet down court.”

“Hall of Fame player but an even better father, husband and so involved with the community.”

On rooting for Bullets as a kid:

“I actually hated the Bullets as a kid, I grew up in New York and those were wars. Earl the Pearl was one of my favorite players….after I moved here to go to Georgetown and moved to Washington, D.C. I changed my allegiance.”

“I think paying respect to the great players regardless of era is a very very important for ownership…and Wes is the epitomy.”

On importance of players knowing their team’s history:

“When we interview players before we draft them, before we trade for them, during interviews we probe to see if they are students of history.”

“It’s remarkable how much film, how much old series how much time John Wall has spent not only understanding this franchise but the history of the NBA.”

On addition of Paul Pierce:

“He saw our team take that next step and when you’re at this stage of your career you want to play on a team that can be very competitive…he kind of chose us is how I look at it.”

Otto Porter is getting a Master’s Degree now in playing that position and is soaking it up.”

“I’m not going to be able to give the team long quality minutes but at winning time or end of each quarter, game, I feel really really comfortable and I know what to do with the ball.”

On relationship with John Wall:

“The key is setting a strategy, communicating and believing in that strategy and keeping faith. We were very open and honest and said we were going to be really really bad and it was going to be a long process.”

“It’s amazing that John Wall who is still a very young player is our longest tenured player.”

“John and I don’t communicate a lot, but we do once at preseason we have a chat and then at the end of the season we talk about what we do and what do we have to do to get better.”

“I think players appreciate that, I don’t think they appreciate emotional decisions…I think if you ask John he’d say we’re in this together, and then you know that the front office, your coach, your fans, and organization their in it with you to win and to be supportive comforts them.”

“John Wall is focused on one thing, doing better than last year and winning a championship.”

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