Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin predicted this month that if his team stays relatively healthy, "we should be in the playoffs this year." As Jim Mora might ask, "Are you kidding me? Playoffs?" This is, after all, a franchise that hasn't played a postseason game since Kwame Brown was in the eighth grade, a team that's made the playoffs just once in 16 years. Still, Pollin's irrational exuberance falls squarely within the team's enduring, if erroneous, tradition.

September 2003: "We're going to make the playoffs." -- Gilbert Arenas.

December 2002: "We've got 61 games left. We have a lot of time to get things right and make the playoffs." -- former coach Doug Collins.

December 2001: "I predicted we'd be in the playoffs back at the beginning of the year and people laughed at me. They probably will still laugh at me when I say I still believe we'll make the playoffs." -- Pollin.

June 2000: "We have three potential all-stars and some talented role players. We can be a .500 team. I'm very confident we can make the playoffs." -- former president of basketball operations Michael Jordan.

November 1999: "We are going to be in the playoffs. I have no doubt." -- former general manager Wes Unseld.

June 1998: "Next year we're going to the playoffs." -- Gheorghe Muresan.

November 1994: "A 10-game improvement is a large step in this league. And if you can improve by 10, why not improve another seven and make the playoffs?" -- former general manager John Nash.

November 1993: "We will make the playoffs." -- Pollin.

November 1993: "I do believe that the playoffs are a realistic goal." -- Nash.

October 1991: "Realistically, I want to be in the playoffs." -- Pollin.

-- Dan Steinberg

POLLINJORDAN