Ted Leonsis Rumors
Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis told Sportico’s Eben Novy-Williams and Peter Schwartz during Tuesday’s event that down the line, NBA teams should be worth significantly more money than they are today. “When you look at how big the [potential] marketplace is, [the NBA is] still a small business,” Leonsis said. “When you think about [there being] 8 billion people around the world, 6 billion now connected with high-speed connections [there are many potential fans out there]. Our cable ratings—even though we’re pretty much the top rated show up and down the line nightly—are still small” from a penetration standpoint. The league, he said, still has “a lot of upside.”
Leonsis had also come to believe that Wall was, often if not always, “too cool for school,” in his thinking. And, the shirtless video of Wall at a party this summer, flashing gang signs, was the last straw. (Again, as I wrote two weeks ago: Leonsis was a thousand percent right in being furious with his 30-year-old face of the franchise for doing such a dumb thing.) This was not a decision that could be made by GM Tommy Sheppard, or his equivalent in Houston, Rafael Stone. “At the end of the day, this is a Ted call,” one source said.
Ted Leonsis: I am very grateful to @JohnWall and his family for all they have done for our franchise and our community. John was the first player picked in the NBA draft and the first player we were blessed to pick under our new ownership of the @WashWizards a decade ago.
David Aldridge: Sheppard says Ted Leonsis, Scott Brooks and other team officials were on the Zoom call with Davis Bertans Friday when they made their pitch to the free agent – who soon agreed to a five-year, $80 million deal to stay: “He earned it,” Sheppard said. “He earned every dime of it.”
And, he made a very, very stupid mistake flashing gang signs in a shirtless, profane video posted in September. He apologized. He had just turned 30 the week before. It was a dumbass thing to do at any age, but really dumbass when you’ve been the well-paid face of a franchise for a decade, and the father of two kids. And I’ve heard Leonsis was royally ticked off by it, and he should have been.