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Abe Pollin

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Abe Pollin

Abe Pollin
Born December 3, 1923
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died November 24, 2009(2009-11-24) (aged 85)
Washington, D.C.
Nationality American
Ethnicity Jewish
Occupation Building contractor
Real estate developer
Sports team owner
Known for owner the Washington Capitals
owner of the Washington Mystics
owner of the Washington Wizards
Religion Judaism
Spouse(s) Irene Kercheck
Children Robert Pollin
James Pollin
Parent(s) Jennie and Morris Pollin

Abraham Pollin (December 3, 1923 – November 24, 2009) was the owner of a number of professional sports teams including the Washington Capitals in the National Hockey League (NHL), the Washington Mystics in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), and the Washington Wizards in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Pollin was the longest-tenured owner of an NBA team, holding the Packers/Zephyrs/Bullets/Wizards franchise for 46 years.


Pollin was born to a [4] The Pollins launched their own construction company in 1957.[4][5]

A successful construction contractor in the Washington area, Pollin headed an investment group that bought the then Baltimore Bullets in 1964.[4] He moved the team to the Washington area in 1973 after building the Capital Centre.[4] In 1996, Pollin announced that he was changing the team's name because he felt the name "Bullets" had too many negative connotations.[4] "Our slogan used to be 'Faster than a speeding bullet,' but that is no longer appropriate," Pollin told the press. A "name-the-team" contest yielded the name "Wizards."

Pollin supported the Washington DC community philanthropically, including a 1988 partnership with businessman Melvin Cohen to award college scholarships to 59 fifth-graders in Executive Director, The S.T.E.P.U.P. Foundation Of Greater Washington, D.C. Inc., Harvey C. Barnum, Jr., 2005 Teacher of the Year, Jason Kamras and 2006 Miss District of Columbia, Kate Michael.

Pollin died on November 24, 2009, nine days before his 86th birthday, of corticobasal degeneration, a rare brain disease.[7][4][8] He had made donations totaling $3 million toward finding a cure for the disease.


Pollin and his wife, Irene Lee (née Kercheck) were married on June 10, 1945 in Washington, DC.[3]


Abe Pollin was the chairman of the board, chief executive, and the majority shareholder of his company, Washington Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Wizards and the Verizon Center, amongst other entertainment interests.[4] He was also the builder and owner of the Capital Centre, former home of the Washington Bullets (Now Wizards) and Capitals.[4]

Accomplishments and honors

On March 9, 2009, Pollin was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.[9]

Pollin's building and financing of the Verizon Center is often given credit for revitalizing Downtown Washington, D.C. The Verizon Center block of F Street NW is named "Abe Pollin Way" in his honor. The Irene Apartments at 4701 Willard Ave, Chevy Chase, Maryland, were built by Abe and named after his wife.

Mayor Adrian Fenty named December 3, 2007, "Abe Pollin Day" in Washington, D.C.[10]


  1. ^ Jewish Washington: Scrapbook of an American Community retrieved May 13, 2015
  2. ^ Washington Post: "Abe Pollin Timeline" November 25, 2009
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^

External links

  • Wizards profile
  • AISH profile
  • , Wednesday, November 25, 2009.The New York TimesGoldstein, Richard. "Abe Pollin, Team Owner and Philanthropist, Dies at 85,"
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