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One year ago: Abe Pollin

November 24, 2010 |  6:00 am


Abe Pollin was a powerhouse in the Washington sports world who helped bring a professional sports title to the city for the first time in 36 years with the Bullets' NBA championship in 1978. He died one year ago at age 85.

Pollin's company, Washington Sports & Entertainment, owned not only the Bullets, later to become the Wizards, but the Capitals of the NHL and the Mystics of the WNBA.

The company was eventually acquired by longtime AOL executive Ted Leonsis, who merged it in June with Lincoln Holdings to create Monumental Sports Entertainment.

In the changing world of professional sports, Pollin stood out for decades as an owner who tried to run his teams like a family business. He bemoaned the runaway salaries of free agency and said it would have been difficult for him to keep the Wizards if it weren't for the NBA's salary cap. He was the NBA's longest-tenured owner.

Pollin renamed his NBA team in 1997 because of the violent connotation of the word "bullets," particularly in a city associated with crime.

For more, read Abe Pollin's full obituary that appeared in The Times.

-- Michael Farr

Photo: Abe Pollin holds up the NBA championship trophy as the Washington Bullets return to Dulles International Airport after defeating the Seattle SuperSonics in 1978. Credit: Associated Press