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Ted Leonsis, John Wall making moves

Ted Leonsis will be introduced as the new owner of the Wizards on Thursday at 1 p.m., after his Lincoln Holdings enterprise finally closed the $550-million deal to take over Washington's basketball team, the Verizon Center and local Ticketmaster operations. The NBA approved Leonsis's purchase on Tuesday, clearing the way for him to replace the Pollin family after their 46-year run controlling the franchise.

Leonsis has always been one of the more engaging and accessible owners with the NHL's Washington Capitals. He is already encouraging Wizards fans to reach out to him on his new fan email account address, Thewashwiz@aol.com. He is usually responsive to comments and suggestions - and I have a very good hunch that a good number of his initial emails will be about changing the colors, logo and team name (my assumption comes from the constant emails I get from Wizards fans asking me to ask him about it).

Leonsis will become the new face of the Wizards off the court, while the expected new face of the Wizards on the court, John Wall, has been busy making moves of his own. Wall filmed a segment on Wednesday for ESPN's Sports Science, which tested his speed and vertical leap, among other other drills. But that was hardly the biggest news of the day for Wall.

The 19-year-old Wall became a wealthy man as he signed an endorsement deal with Reebok - which Wall announced on Twitter, scooping every news entity. Yahoo! Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski filled in the details, as he reported that Wall signed a five-year, $25-million deal with the shoe company which has been seeking a superstar face since the retirement of Allen Iverson. Wojnarowski reports that Wall's representatives, Dan Fegan and Brian Clifton, negotiated two signature shoes.

As I reported earlier, Wall met with Reebok last Friday in Boston. It apparently presented a package that trumped both Nike and Under Armour, which were also in the running for Wall's services. Wall's deal with Reebok makes sense because he immediately becomes the face of the brand, whereas he would've been just another endorser for Nike, which already heavily promotes LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant, or Under Armour, which has Brandon Jennings.

Wall, who has been working out in Los Angeles the past few weeks, will be in his hometown of Raleigh, N.C., this weekend and he has a workout scheduled with the Philadelphia 76ers next Wednesday, before arriving in Washington on June 17. Wall's representatives see the workout for Philadelphia as a good form of preparation for Washington, but they also want to have their bases covered since the Wizards have yet to make their intentions known. The Wizards have yet to arrange a workout for Ohio State junior Evan Turner, who is expected to go second to the 76ers.

His reported deal with Reebok is significant, considering shoe companies stopped reaping the benefits of huge contracts a while ago - with Durant the last player to sign a huge multi-million deal. Wall also has some history with Reebok, since he made his name for himself at the Reebok Breakout Underclass camp in Philadelphia in the summer of 2007. Wall wasn't ranked nationally until he arrived, but his stellar showing pushed him to top as the most highly-touted prep prospect in 2009. You can see the footage, with his Mohawk haircut, below:



By Michael Lee  |  June 10, 2010; 12:42 AM ET
 
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Next: Bog: Leonsis says it's time to re-embrace Arenas

Comments

C'mon Michael, how would we not pick Wall, the Verizon Center is going to be packed this season, is Evan Turner attracting this level of buzz?

Posted by: twigmuffin | June 10, 2010 1:15 AM | Report abuse

Evan Turner already has serious spine issues. Wall is the only logical choice.
It is strange that we haven't announced it already. Maybe Ernie really is keeping his options open with this "assett."

Posted by: MeviousMan | June 10, 2010 4:01 AM | Report abuse

the only interesting thing about this article was that Ted will officially take the reins
today....
Wall either will be drafted by Washington..or
fans will be furious. With nearly 10% unemployment..no one wants to hear about 25 million dollar shoe deals....especially about a guy who is not yet been drafted by the Wizards. Yes..the name needs to be changed..back to the bullets. LATELY..IT HAS BEEN THE WASHINGTON WIMPS....DOES IT HAVE A RING TO IT?

Posted by: blazerguy234 | June 10, 2010 6:55 AM | Report abuse

Hey, those look like my moves.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | June 10, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Wall is a wizard unless something unfortunate happen to him until june,24th.

Posted by: gtefferra | June 10, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Washington (Baltimore) Bullets as a name is just wrong in these times. That's probably what you will hear from the new owner Lincoln Holdings. On the other hand those who want to go back to it haven't really said said why they don't like Wizards. Wise men not good enough for you? Perhaps you prefer Washington (Chicago Meat) Packers again?

Posted by: rickgonz | June 10, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

The significant thing about Wall signing with Reebok is that he is separating his friendship with Lebron James from his business dealings. This means that he is incorporating himself to be a brand and is willing to become a leader, and not simply a follower.

In addition, the Wizards name should remain, but I would love to see the uniforms get a makeover.

Posted by: karlw171 | June 10, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

The significant thing about Wall signing with Reebok is that he is separating his friendship with Lebron James from his business dealings. This means that he is incorporating himself to be a brand and is willing to become a leader, and not simply a follower.

In addition, the Wizards name should remain, but I would love to see the uniforms get a makeover.

Posted by: karlw171 | June 10, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Change the name back to the Bullets...There is nothing wrong with that name. No kid is going to fire a gun at another kid because his favorite basketball team is named the 'bullets.'...thats the worst argument ever. kids in utah didn't buy saxaphones because their team is named the jazz. they need to change the name and the color scheme back. we are in dc, the nation's capital. we should be red, white, and blue. not marine blue, white, and gold....also, what the hell is a wizard? sounds kind of racist if you ask me. sorry for the rant.

Posted by: damimac1 | June 10, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse


Washington Barricades!!

Posted by: bobabuie | June 10, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Washington (Baltimore) Bullets as a name is just wrong in these times. That's probably what you will hear from the new owner Lincoln Holdings. On the other hand those who want to go back to it haven't really said said why they don't like Wizards. Wise men not good enough for you?

- It's wrong in these times? Rickgonz, In case you haven't been paying attention, violent crimes are at their lowest level in decades nationwide. And in the District, murders are down SIGNIFICANTLY since the days of the Bullets. So if the name was right in those times, it's even more right in these. As for why we don't like "Wizards", it is the weakest, least intimidating name in team sports (most WNBA franchises have stronger sounding names). Not to mention it has nothing whatsoever to do with the region, or any other region for that matter. It was a terrible name from day one and the team has had zero success since adopting it. We'd have been better off as the Riverdawgs, and that's saying something.

Posted by: thabiz | June 10, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

People are still getting killed in Israel, which is why Abe changed the name in the first place, DCs murder rate was never the issue.

Posted by: divi3 | June 10, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

That's not true at all divi3. It had everything to do with crime in DC, but the decision was accelerated when Pollin's friend, Yitzhak Rabin, was assassinated.

Watch which lies you spread.

Posted by: IrenePollin | June 10, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Why would I buy a pair tennis shoes because John Wall is the sponsor? Truth is I get my tennis shoes in KMART because there reasonably price. A lot of stupid consumers out there.

Posted by: MARKHAGNER | June 10, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

by Rabin's assassination in '96 the crack wars had ended and the murder rates were already way down. Bit after-the-fact to change the name then wasnt it, if indeed violent crime in DC was the reason?

I dont begrudge Abe anything, he did so much for the city and its residents, but I do recall some people wondering aloud at the time why it took violence overseas to spur the change.

Anyhoo- maybe time for another name change!

Posted by: divi3 | June 10, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I say change the name back to the Bullets. The last thread pretty much explains why this team and the original Baltimore Bullet chose the name.

Although, this team in 1963 did acutally show a bullet on the teams logo. I feel that Mr. Polin atually did more harm to the Baltimore/Washington Bullet brand by unwittingly tying it to violence instead of standing pact and espousing that the brand name was not named for bad intentions.

Much like the Redskins have stood behind the good intentions of the name Redskin.

Yes, they should go back to the name, for the original team was named it because they played in an Armory and when the Zephers came to town and picked the name back up as a tribute to a then defunct team, there was nothing negative about it.

The changing times can cause us to relook many names, Browns, Crackers, just to name a couple, but we have to be smarter and bigger than the changing times and political correctness and zero tolerance, a term I deplore.

The Washington Bullets they should be.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | June 10, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse


Leonsis paid good money for the team and he can (and will) change the name to whatever he wants. He is as down to earth as any gazillionaire you'll ever see, but he is human and will want to put HIS stamp on the team. There will be no recycling of any of the old names. You can bet on it.

Posted by: gimmedat | June 10, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Evan Turner already has serious spine issues. Wall is the only logical choice.
It is strange that we haven't announced it already. Maybe Ernie really is keeping his options open with this "assett."

There's no upside to announcing the choice now. Why do that and allow the teams picking behind you to make their draft day plans with greater certainty?

Change the name back to the Bullets...There is nothing wrong with that name. No kid is going to fire a gun at another kid because his favorite basketball team is named the 'bullets.'...thats the worst argument ever.

I think you're missing the point here. If I'm Leonsis, I don't want my brand name associated with negative things. When most people think of "bullets," they think of violence and killing. "Baltimore Bullets" made some sense because it was alliterative, and, as I understand it, there was some connection to a local employer that manufactured ammunition. Neither of those factors currently are applicable. True, the franchise's greatest success came under the "Bullets" name, but that was over 30 years ago. Any cachet that that success engendered for the "Bullets" name has long been washed away by the many ensuing years of mediocrity.

Posted by: rbpalmer | June 10, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Wizards is totally offensive. Imagine if they moved the team to Memphis. The Memphis Wizards could suggest a bunch of racists dressed up in white sheets. I too would like the team to go back to Bullets. The Bullets have won an NBA championship. That is something the Wizards have never come even remotely close to accomplishing.

Posted by: tylerdurden1 | June 10, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I hope he doesn't bring that garbage to the Wizards if they draft him, because that was the worse highlight tape I've ever seen in my life. He carried the ball at least 3 times and his jumper was pure luck. Watch out Wiazrds fans be carfeul what you wish for.....

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | June 10, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I'll have to send Ted an email asking what, if any, changes he is going to make in the Front Office. How will this team be managed differently now that he is the new own?...you know, basic question. It's a shame the Post won't do it.

Posted by: closg | June 10, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I hope he doesn't bring that garbage to the Wizards if they draft him, because that was the worse highlight tape I've ever seen in my life. He carried the ball at least 3 times and his jumper was pure luck. Watch out Wiazrds fans be carfeul what you wish for.....

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | June 10, 2010 10:17 AM

Um, he was 16 yrs old in that clip.

Posted by: divi3 | June 10, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

"Much like the Redskins have stood behind the good intentions of the name Redskin."

What?! Seriously, are you having a stroke?

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 10, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I'll have to send Ted an email asking what, if any, changes he is going to make in the Front Office. How will this team be managed differently now that he is the new own?...you know, basic question. It's a shame the Post won't do it.

Posted by: closg | June 10, 2010 10:20 AM

I think this time the Front Office will actually be allowed to do their jobs without constant meddling from the owner. For example, when Ted needs to hire a coach and a GM, he'll hire the GM first and let the GM pick the coach. That's a novel management concept.

Posted by: gimmedat | June 10, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

We are talking about a 19yr old, so who knows how it will eventually pan out. But as a Wizards fan, you just have to love the clutchness and big stage mentality exhibited so far:

11/17/09 – In his collegiate debut at Kentucky versus Miami University, Wall made the game winning shot with .5 seconds left on the clock to help then # 5 ranked Kentucky win. He finished with 19 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals.

11/24/09 – In his 5th career game, against Stanford, Wall scored a career high 23 points, hitting 2 free throws with 2.4 seconds left to send the game in to overtime.

12/09/09 – In his first game in Madison Square Garden, against then-ranked #12 Connecticut, Wall scored a team-high 25 points, to go with 6 steals, and scored 12 of UK's last 15 points for a 64–61 victory, moving Kentucky to #3 on the AP polls.

Posted by: divi3 | June 10, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Thinking of JOHN WALL and then of RANDY FOYE is such a downer. When do we cut FOYE loose?

Posted by: glawrence007 | June 10, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

divi3

I agree. That is what made Gil spectacular, he usually played like money during the 4th period and you felt that if the wiz were down 10 points, he could bring them back, or if they were ahead, they would maintain the lead.

Wall seems similar(though without the 3-ball) but I noticed in games where Kentucky was in trouble, Wall would start pushing the break and taking it to the rim, down the stretch. It shows that he is not a shrinking violet to money-time.

It is still to be determined whether Wall can go one-on-one for and1's like Gil used to.

Posted by: G-Man11 | June 10, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

"Much like the Redskins have stood behind the good intentions of the name Redskin."
Posted by: LarryInClintonMD

So should Ted change the Washington Wizards to the Washington N-bombs, but let people know he is doing it with good intentions?

Posted by: ts35 | June 10, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Apologies for the classic knee-jerk reaction to the statement, but the Redskins haven't kept the name to maintain their support of the nobility of the American Indian or their good intentions in using the name, they've kept it because there isn't a critical mass of people who are offended which would affect public perception or their bottom line enough to do it.

Posted by: ts35 | June 10, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Apologies for the classic knee-jerk reaction to the statement, but the Redskins haven't kept the name to maintain their support of the nobility of the American Indian or their good intentions in using the name, they've kept it because there isn't a critical mass of people who are offended which would affect public perception or their bottom line enough to do it.

Posted by: ts35 | June 10, 2010 11:48 AM

Agreed. When it affects Snyder's wallet, he'll change the name.

Posted by: gimmedat | June 10, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Washington Trafiic Enforcers

Posted by: millineumman | June 10, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

The mascott could be a ticket writter.

Posted by: millineumman | June 10, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

The mascott could be a ticket writter.

Posted by: millineumman | June 10, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Washington Barricades!!

Posted by: bobabuie

Funny. They're everywhere in DC.
I'm still partial to the name that one of you came up with earlier: Washington RedTapes.
But it's Ted's call.

Posted by: gimmedat | June 10, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

"Evan Turner already has serious spine issues.posted by Mevious Man"

He does? Here's all I could find on it: "On December 5, 2009, the fourth week of the season, he suffered transverse process fractures of the second and third lumbar vertebra in his back, which was expected to cause him to be inactive for two months."

Instead he came back at about 5 weeks. L5 is the one that normally causes problems (some people don't have an L5; some have an extra vertebra, commonly designated L6).

You never know, but I doubt the team docs around the NBA will have any trouble recommending him for a very high draft choice.

Posted by: Samson151 | June 10, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

"Evan Turner already has serious spine issues.
posted by Mevious Man"

He does? Here's all I could find on it: "On December 5, 2009, the fourth week of the season, he suffered transverse process fractures of the second and third lumbar vertebra in his back, which was expected to cause him to be inactive for two months."

Instead he came back at about 5 weeks. L5 is the one that normally causes problems (some people don't have an L5; some have an extra vertebra, commonly designated L6).

You never know, but I doubt the team docs around the NBA will have any trouble recommending him for a very high draft choice.

Posted by: Samson151

To quote Mike Tyson:

MT: I broke my back.
JimGray: What do you mean by that?
MT: My back is broken.
JG: You mean like a vertebrae or a portion?
MT: Well.....spinal.

Not really relevant to the discussion, but I always enjoy working in a good Mike Tyson bite.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rw47gXsDwjw

To the actual point, I think people get concerned (somewhat legitimately) when they see athletes have any kind of back issues, as most of us think back to T-Mac's issues, and for those of us a little older, Larry Bird. So even if Turner's back issue wasn't that bad overall and he's fully healed, back (spinal!) issues set off a big red flag for a lot of folks.

I agree though, I don't think it will scare any teams off.

Posted by: ts35 | June 10, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

"Evan Turner already has serious spine issues.
posted by Mevious Man"

He does? Here's all I could find on it: "On December 5, 2009, the fourth week of the season, he suffered transverse process fractures of the second and third lumbar vertebra in his back, which was expected to cause him to be inactive for two months."

Instead he came back at about 5 weeks. L5 is the one that normally causes problems (some people don't have an L5; some have an extra vertebra, commonly designated L6).

You never know, but I doubt the team docs around the NBA will have any trouble recommending him for a very high draft choice.

Posted by: Samson151

To quote Mike Tyson:

MT: I broke my back.
JimGray: What do you mean by that?
MT: My back is broken.
JG: You mean like a vertebrae or a portion?
MT: Well.....spinal.

Not really relevant to the discussion, but I always enjoy working in a good Mike Tyson bite.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rw47gXsDwjw

To the actual point, I think people get concerned (somewhat legitimately) when they see athletes have any kind of back issues, as most of us think back to T-Mac's issues, and for those of us a little older, Larry Bird. So even if Turner's back issue wasn't that bad overall and he's fully healed, back (spinal!) issues set off a big red flag for a lot of folks.

I agree though, I don't think it will scare any teams off.

Posted by: ts35 | June 10, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

funny how all the "maybe turner should go #1" talk has completely evaporated over the past few weeks. How nice is it we arent in a later spot, wondering if Turner's back is bigger issue than Cousins stomach. Or having a Greg Monroe vs Luke Babbit debate

Posted by: divi3 | June 10, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Well if we were drafting where we thought we were going to, in the 6-8 slot, I'd totally take Monroe over Babbitt. I don't even think that could be debated................

Posted by: ts35 | June 10, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

If Reebok gives Wall $25,000,000.00, do the Wizards have to pay him, too?

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | June 10, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Ted's news conference about to start

Streaming it at http://www.nba.com/wizards/multimedia/leonsis_news_conference_100610.html

Posted by: ts35 | June 10, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Washington Wallabies.

Posted by: KTV1 | June 10, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Anyone questioning why the Wizards haven't announced that they'll be drafting Wall should get a clue. Unless the player is signed before the draft, teams never announce who they'll pick. Why signal your intentions to the competition and give them the opportunity to maneuver accordingly? I think it's highly likely that Wall's the pick, but the Wizards' brass isn't about to divulge that just to give the fans peace of mind. In case you haven't notice, they're in competition w/ 29 other teams.

Posted by: randysbailin | June 10, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Ted: No name change for years if ever, possibly change in colors in a few years

Posted by: divi3 | June 10, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

and I'm flooding Ted's email account with pro-Blatche rants, so you haters better get on it of you want him gone!

Posted by: divi3 | June 10, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

His comments on Gil were interesting too. Bring him back into the fold, but he has to show appropriate remorse and know what his responsibilities are.

Posted by: ts35 | June 10, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Sorry divi, sounds like will have to wait until the ketchup situation gets worked out.

Posted by: ts35 | June 10, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

that made me laugh, because those jokers are empty 24/7

Posted by: divi3 | June 10, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Dear Ted,

Go get Lebron!

Posted by: Pigman | June 10, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Pig, Ted didn't rule out anything, but I didn't get the sense from his comments that that's the way he's going.

Posted by: ts35 | June 10, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

We do not need LeBron here. He's a premodonna who wouldn't get along with Arenas anyway. John Wall IS the only logical choice here. Evan Turner, is a little to frail for the NBA at this time. Besides, what position does Turner play anyway?

I like the Wizards' uniforms. Maybe they could block the lettering and add bold piping down the legs, around the waist, neck and arms. A nice classic look. (see Indiana) But please, nothing obnoxious, baggy and black!!!

Posted by: carterm1 | June 10, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

ted on our $20mill CAP room:

"It's not burning a hole in my pocket."

ha! nice to hear we wont be chasing big name duds this offseason. hopefully anyway

Posted by: divi3 | June 10, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I believe he said that if there was a guy out there who made sense and who wants to be here that he would consider it......David Lee, he's talking to you! ;-)

Posted by: ts35 | June 10, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

ted on our $20mill CAP room:

"It's not burning a hole in my pocket."

Good to hear. The other issue to consider is that unless he thinks he can sign a surefire gamechanger, waiting until after next season to start doling out ongoing contracts is the smart move, because once the new CBA is in place, odds are the max value and length of contracts will be reduced, which means the spending power of the Wizards' cap room will improve significantly.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 10, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Washington ysd508.

Posted by: ysd508 | June 11, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

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