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The Wizards’ New Practice Facility in Southeast DC: “This Is Bigger Than Basketball”

The Washington Wizards and Mystics recently came to a decision on the site of a new practice facility, reaching a tentative deal with the former St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in the Ward 8 neighborhood of Southeast DC. The facility is promised to be badass, and one that will rival any other team’s complex according to Ted Leonsis. With the Wizards having been forever housed inside the Verizon Center for their practices, this is definitely a step forward in refining the culture of professional basketball in DC.

The presser turned out to be quite a spectacle of importance considering the important faces that showed up. Wiz bossman Ted Leonsis, the duo he coined as “the best young backcourt in the league” in John Wall and Bradley Beal, and GM Ernie Grunfeld joined DC Mayor Muriel Bowser on site at the official announcement of the project.

It also turned out to be pretty lit:

Wall and Beal’s presence certainly proves their excitement for a new practice floor. Gheorge Muresan was also in attendance according to Jorge Castillo’s tweet. None except for Theodore took the mic Castillo did grab a post-live stream quote from Grunfeld, who stated that the Wizards’ future D-League team will play at the new arena.

But the theme of the conference wasn’t about just basketball. In fact, the theme was that “This is bigger than basketball.” With the Ward 8 section of Southeast being less than five years removed as the country’s top unemployment city, DC officials and the Wizards are hopeful that the establishment and investment of a sports and entertainment complex will continue to turn things around in the community, specifically as it pertains to jobs and economic development. Mayor Bowser iterated that any and all economic investments in this city and specifically in the neighborhood of Ward 8 should lead to “jobs for DC residents, opportunities for DC businesses, and to lead to more economic development right here at St. Elizabeth’s.”

Here are the numbers:

The District will commit approximately 23 million dollars to the construction of the 5,000 seat complex, with Monumental Network and Events DC also contributing to the 55 million total dollars expected to complete the project.

The job numbers Mayor Bowser is hopeful this “gamechanger” of a project will render: 600 construction jobs, 300 permanent jobs, as well as “more jobs down the line.”

“The welcoming and grace that we felt from the people in this community really made the decision very, very easy on where we would commit.”Ted Leonsis

Next on the mic was Teddy, who praised Ernie Grunfeld for his “tireless” efforts in planning for the “world’s best practice facility” and highlighted Wall and Beal for their strong attentiveness to community matters.

If all goes as planned and hoped, the Wizards and Ted Leonsis may have been dealt a money river card in their efforts to continue reforming the culture of Wizards basketball. A state-of-the art practice facility that would appeal to the players on the team and attract any future free agent of high regard *perhaps one that is from a neighborhood only a few miles away*, while also serving as a tool and foundation for economic growth in one of the poorest areas of the country…well, it doesn’t get any classier than that. Kudos to the Wizards’ brass for their consideration and mindfulness.

Also due high praise: the mindfulness of this fan…

we are Hoop District

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