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Wale at the Caps Game


Two Leonsises and a Wale.


"I don't know who Wale the rapper is," Ted Leonsis said tonight, a few minutes after the Caps' shootout win over the Hurricanes.

"You will soon," his son, Zach, said.

"He's coming to hockey games now?" Leonsis asked.

"He's the one who raps about Ovechkin," Zach explained.

"Of course," Leonsis said.

So then Wale--the D.C. rapper and sports fan--met the Leonsises. Ted asked how he liked it. Wale promised they'd be seeing a lot more of him at the Verizon Center.

"Let's have a sit-down with Dan Snyder next," Wale said as we left. "We need to have an intervention with that dude, like, Stop wasting money!"

We all went down the hall and waited outside the locker room for Ovechkin to emerge.

"That [stuff] was crazy, dog," Wale said while we waited. "Towards the end, when we had only three players? Like, was your heart beating? Man, that was the slowest two minutes ever."

One of Wale's first Twitter updates from the arena was this: "im the only black person here." Now he was saying he'd become a regular, and promising to bring more fans from "around the way." So I asked if he really planned on returning for more hockey.

"That [stuff]?" he asked. "Dog, I'll be back....The shootout was so cliche, though. Oh, Ovechkin wins it, in a shootout, in overtime, the first hockey game I go to. Like, really? Sure. I could have told you that was gonna happen before I went."

Wale told us about his single "Chillin," which drops on Friday and features an appearance from Lady Gaga. He talked about his passion for D.C. sports, and the sad state of that passion in recent months. A few minutes later, Ovechkin came out.

"I heard you put my name?" Ovechkin asked.

"In like three songs," Wale said. "You got me a lot of new fans."

Ovechkin tried giving Wale a jersey, but it turned out it was blank. Alex then took it back and told a team employee to return it to Wale with 8 and Ovechkin. He left to finish dressing. Three songs with Ovechkin's name? I only knew of the one.


"But a lot of them are underground," Wale said. "It's my alias. Wale Ovechkin's my alias."

Heck, that's even his gamer tag: Wale Ovechkin. He'd never been to an NHL game, and only occasionally watches highlights on ESPN, but he knows who Ovechkin is, and what he represents.

"He's the [stuff]," Wale said. "I want to bring what he brings to hockey to my music. He's saving D.C. sports, ain't he? If Jason Campbell was to the NFL what Ovechkin is to hockey? There wouldn't be so many long faces on Monday mornings."

So, Wale's report on his first hockey experience: the intermissions were too long. There weren't all that many black faces in the crowd. But the result on the ice, he said, was something this town needs about now: the team unity, the way the Caps "bundle up" after goals, and the way they win. Take the Wizards, for example.

"I don't want to look like I'm a Wizards hater," he said, "because I'm the ultimate D.C. supporter. I just question their effort sometimes, especially when you see them out in the club after a loss. Why are they always out in the club?"

The Redskins?

"They're heartbreak, man," he said. "The reason why on Mondays I sometimes don't even want to get up. I don't want to watch NFL Primetime, which is my favorite show of all time."

The Nats?

"They're just whatever," Wale said. "They have cool hats, I can say that much."

Which is why Wale was standing in a back hallway waiting for Ovechkin to come back, thinking up with business ventures for Ted Leonsis. ("Black People Online," as I recall.) Soon, Ovechkin emerged and took some photos with Wale; "You clean up nice," Wale said. "See you boys," Ovechkin said as he cruised off.

Then Mike Green came out to visit for a few minutes.

"Thanks for keeping D.C. sports alive, man, I appreciate it," Wale told him.

"We're trying," Green said. They chatted about hockey, and Canada, and post-goal celebrations, and Wale's first game.

"Why are hockey players so much more well-mannered than all other athletes?" Wale asked Green. "Man, you're all so polite."

He then gave us a demonstration of what NBA players are like in the club; sadly, none of it was quotable. Wale gave a little speech about how hockey players need to be a bit flashier; Green told him that he's flashy, by NHL standards.

"Someone should get a chain of the Stanley Cup if you win that joint," Wale recommended.

"I'll probably be the guy," Green said.

So anyhow, that was pretty much what happened. Wale told us that he had just met the LeBron James of the NHL. He said it's been a long time since he had seen the Verizon Center like that, packed with people hollering for the home team. He said if he was a football star and was drafted by the Cowboys, he'd refuse to play because he hates them so much. He said he wishes more Redskins showed that Dallas hate. He also said he could now cross Ovechkin off the list of people he wants to meet.

"Barack Obama's next," Wale said. "We need to get Barack at a hockey game."

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 15, 2009; 12:06 AM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Comments

Dan.. amazing.. done with lightning speed.

Posted by: Djlethal01 | March 15, 2009 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Obama, indeed. Maybe for one of the playoff games.

I hope the Caps can keep up stuff like this. Imagine 10 years from now drafting a black kid from Washington DC into the organization, who got interested in hockey through his favorite rapper? That would be epic.

And hey, the Nats will come around, one of these days......right?

Posted by: EricS2 | March 15, 2009 12:51 AM | Report abuse

I grew up watching the Caps at the Capital Centre and playing street and sometimes ice hockey with the Korean kids next door. We always felt like we stood out at the games.

Posted by: sitruc | March 15, 2009 1:03 AM | Report abuse

"Flashy" Mike Green and that thick Canadian accent, eh!

What, speed-talker Brooks Laich didn't come out for a chat?

Posted by: RedBirdie | March 15, 2009 1:55 AM | Report abuse

I use Wies Ovechkin - Wale and I are kindred spirits! Since Leonsis is smart, we know he is going to try to figure out a way to expand the reach of Caps hockey into SE, NE, and SW DC

Posted by: mjwies11 | March 15, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Nice one,Dan. This is some serious good....stuff. I get a kick out of how far the reach of the Caps into the DC scene is extending. That was exciting last night. One helluva game. What else around here on this scene is even close? Nada.

Posted by: ridgely1 | March 15, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Wale is my new favorite rapper.

Since Dan Snyder won't listen to the fans, maybe he'll listen to Wale.

Posted by: smutsboy | March 15, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Wale was spot on about the Nats hats. I have one in each color (red, navy, all black, and the super limited green hats that they wore a couple times last summer) and I wear one almost every day. I only like the curly "W" one though. The ones with that block "DC" are just tacky. As for the team? Whatever...

Posted by: MEssex | March 15, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

flyer than the rest of 'um.
still got my nike boots.

Posted by: littles_ | March 15, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

that reminds me...my moms first Wiz game was when Gil hit the game winner against Utah

Posted by: supermanbryan | March 15, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"I don't want to look like I'm a Wizards hater," he said, "because I'm the ultimate D.C. supporter. I just question their effort sometimes, especially when you see them out in the club after a loss. Why are they always out in the club?"

The Redskins?

"They're heartbreak, man," he said. "The reason why on Mondays I sometimes don't even want to get up. I don't want to watch NFL Primetime, which is my favorite show of all time."

The Nats?

"They're just whatever," Wale said. "They have cool hats, I can say that much."

QFE

Posted by: sitruc | March 15, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

great stuff Dan, just great. As Cosmo Kramer would say "you're becoming one of the glitterati"

Posted by: pettyskins86 | March 15, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I do not know nor care about who Wale is. Nevertheless, his words of criticism of local teams is so true that they to be repeated by the POST loudly and clearly. Perhaps reducing news coverage of the Wiz combine with increasing the fan boycott of the game (and not purchasing refreshments and game souvenirs might get the message across to the ailing Mr. Pollin, Grunwald and the overpaid spoiled babies. Have all of the home games in away locations. The management model established by the Wiz is repeated with the Redskins and the even more irrelevant baseball franchise.

Leonis eventually chose a different model, and is now reaping the rewards of keeping his word to the fans. They ignored the usual logical approach, and built from the ground up. They got rid of the overpaid under-performers and even some good hockey players to get the right draft picks. Is it possible that Hershey is better than some of the NHL teams?

These Caps players are similarly reaping the rewards of being the opposite of Wiz and NBA players: polite respectful men, not lazy hoodlums and gangsters who are paid millions then choose not to play, nor are they even forced to do so. We want to welcome them into our community, and not be afraid of them and the gun-toting, drug using, parasite entourages taht we see with so many NBA and NFL players.

Posted by: Caps1978 | March 15, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

LOL @ "He's the [STUFF]"! Wale's such a potty mouth. "I Do It For The Capital, Wale Ovechkin!"

Posted by: Prize | March 16, 2009 1:54 AM | Report abuse

Wale has been my favorite rapper for about a year and a half now, and through almost everything he does, his awesomeness increaseth in my eyes. This is another entry in that book.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | March 16, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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