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  • Abe Pollin will sell a portion of his holdings to a group headed by AOL executive Ted Leonsis.
  • Thomas Boswell: Farewell to an era.
  • Tony Kornheiser: Pollin and Jack Kent Cooke were the last dons of D.C.
  • Michael Wilbon: It's a brand new game in town.
  • After 25 years, Caps founder offers a surprise.
  • AOL executive had an urge to own a team.
  • The corporate scene in sports changed the game for Pollin.
  • Renaissance around the arena hasn't happened.
  • The sale won't change how the Wizards are run.
  • Pollin's efforts praised by fans.

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  • Online Only: Quotes from the press conference
  • Abe Pollin's downtown arena opened Dec. 2, 1997.
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  •   Pollin's Washington Sports Legacy

    Abe Pollin
    Dec. 3
    Abe Pollin is born in Philadelphia, then moves to Washington at age 8. He attends Roosevelt High and graduates from George Washington University in 1945.
    Pollin starts his own construction company, which would build the first rooftop pool in Washington.
    Oct. 24
    Pollin, Arnold Heft and Earl Foreman purchase the Baltimore Bullets for a then-record $1.1 million.
    July 23
    Pollin becomes sole owner of the Bullets.
    March 24
    Wes Unseld, taken second overall in the 1968 draft, becomes the second rookie in NBA history to be named the league's most valuable player.
    March 13
    Pollin says he will bid for one of two NHL expansion franchises.

    The NHL awards a franchise to Pollin for Washington, to begin play in the 1974-75 season. Pollin pays $6 million for the franchise.

    Cap Centre's Telescreen
    Pollin builds Capital Centre in Landover for $16 million and moves the Bullets there. The arena features the world's first Telscreen to show instant replays and the first skyboxes (now called luxury suites). The Bullets play the 1973-74 season as the Capital Bullets, then become the Washington Bullets the next season.
    Oct. 15
    A sellout crowd of 17,500 watches the Capitals lose to the New York Rangers, 6-3, in the first hockey game at Capital Centre. Defenseman Yvon Labre scores the first goal. The Capitals finish 8-67-5.
    Champions Pollin and Unseld embrace
    June 7
    The Bullets win their only NBA championship on Wes Unseld's two foul shots in the closing seconds of Game 7 against Seattle.
    Sept. 10
    The Capitals acquire Rod Langway in a trade with Montreal. He leads them to their first winning season and playoff appearance. The Capitals would make the playoffs the next 13 seasons.
    Jan. 3
    Unseld, who retired in 1981, is named coach of the Bullets. In May, he is inducted into the NBA's Hall of Fame.
    The Capitals win their first division title.
    May 9
    Susan O'Malley is named president of the Bullets.
    July 1
    Capital Centre is renamed USAir Arena.
    Webber signs
    Nov. 17
    Chris Webber is acquired from the Golden State Warriors.
    June 7
    Unseld resigns as coach.

    June 7
    Pollin announces plans to build a $175 million arena in downtown Washington. MCI purchases naming rights to the arena for $44 million.

    Mayor Marion Barry helps break ground for MCI Center
    Oct. 18
    Ground is broken for the construction of MCI Center.

    Nov. 9
    As part of an anti-violence campaign, Pollin announces he will change the name of the Bullets. After a contest, in which fans were invited to vote, Pollin announces in February 1996 that the team will be called the Wizards.

    May 1
    Wes Unseld is named general manager of the Bullets/Wizards.

    June 14
    Paralyzed Veterans of America sues Pollin over the design of MCI Center. A judge rules in favor of Pollin, but an appeals court rules in July 1997 that Pollin must provide better seating for fans in wheelchairs. The Supreme Court let the ruling stand.

    The Capitals fail to make the playoffs for the first time since the 1981-82 season.

    Oct. 1
    The WNBA announces that Washington will get a franchise.

    Langway, US Air
    Rod Langway's No. 5 and US Airways Arena retired
    Nov. 26
    The Capitals play their final game at US Airways Arena, and Langway's No. 5 is retired. Three days later, the Wizards play their final game at the arena.

    Dec. 2
    Before a sellout crowd of 20,674, the Wizards play the first game at MCI Center, beating the Seattle SuperSonics, 95-78. Three days later, the Capitals play their first game there, beating the Florida Panthers, 3-2.

    May 14
    After a series of off-court legal problems, the Wizards trade Webber to the Sacramento Kings for Mitch Richmond and Otis Thorpe.

    eastern finals
    Stanley Cup finalists
    June 4 The Capitals defeat the Buffalo Sabres to reach the Stanley Cup finals. They lose to the Detroit Red Wings in four games.

    Mystics' Nikki McCray cheers first victory
    June 19
    The Washington Mystics debut at MCI Center, defeating the Utah Starzz, 85-76.

    The Capitals and Wizards both miss the playoffs for the first time since 1980-81.

    May 12
    Pollin sells Capitals and minority interests in MCI Center, US Airways Arena, TicketMaster and the Wizards.

    Sources: Washington Capitals, Washington Mystics, Washington Wizards, Total Hockey

    © Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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