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Wizards owner Pollin dead at age 85

Abe Pollin, whose 45 years as owner of the Washington Wizards made him the NBA's longest-tenured club owner, died Tuesday at age 85, his Washington Sports and Entertainment Company announced.

No details were revealed about the passing of Pollin, who suffered from progressive supranuclear palsy Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Definition

Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP; also known as Steele-Richardson-Olszewski syndrome) is a rare disease that gradually destroys nerve cells in the parts of the brain that control eye movements, breathing, and
, a rare brain disorder that affected his balance and movement.

"With Abe Pollin?s passing, the NBA family has lost its most revered member," NBA commissioner David Stern

For other people named David Stern, see David Stern (disambiguation).
David Joel Stern (born on September 22, 1942 in New York City, New York) is an American lawyer, who has been commissioner of the National Basketball Association (NBA) since
 said. "During his illness he fought with a determination and valor valor

a rodenticide no longer marketed because of toxicity in horses causing dehydration, abdominal pain, hindlimb weakness, inappetence, fishy smell in urine. Called also N-3-pyridyl methyl N1-p-nitrophenyl urea.
 that will remain an inspiration to all."

Pollin bought the NBA's Baltimore Bullets in 1964 and moved them to suburban Washington in 1973, renaming the team the Capital Bullets for one season and then the Washington Bullets.

The Bullets won the 1978 NBA crown, the only league title Pollin's squad ever captured. The next year, Pollin took the club to China, making the team the first NBA squad to play in the Asian nation.

In 1997, Pollin renamed the Bullets as the Wizards, in part because of the huge number of gun slayings in the US capital.

That same year, Pollin moved the team from a suburban arena into a 20,000-seat downtown coliseum he built in the Chinatown neighborhood, sparking a redevelopment that continues to this day.

Stern called Pollin's stewardship of the Wizards "a study in unparalleled dedication to the city of Washington" and saw the downtown arena as his greatest achievement for the city.

Pollin, who underwent heart bypass surgery Bypass surgery
A surgical procedure that grafts blood vessels onto arteries to reroute the blood flow around blockages in the arteries (arteriosclerosis).
 four years ago and in 2007 suffered a broken pelvis, was known for loyalty and running an empire of sports clubs that once included hockey's Washington Capitals as if it were a family.

"Abe Pollin always wanted the best for his teams, the fans and Washington and all of those passions combined to create the arena that revitalized the entire downtown community," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said.

"He was a man of commitment and principle and we all will miss him. The National Hockey League family sends sincere condolences to his loved ones."

Wes Unseld, who held the Bullets beat Seattle for the NBA crown in 1978, spent decades in various posts with the club, a sign of the loyalty Pollin had for the man who was critical in making his club a champion.

Ted Leonsis, the long-time AOL (A division of Time Warner, Inc., New York, NY, The world's largest online information service with access to the Internet, e-mail, chat rooms and a variety of databases and services.  top executive, bought the Capitals in 1999 and the Women's NBA Mystics in 2005 and has the right of first refusal Right of First Refusal

In general, the right of a person or company to purchase something before the offering is made available to others.

For example, a football team may have the right of first refusal on a player's contract.
 for purchasing the Wizards, the home arena they share with the Capitals and Mystics and the major event ticket sales firm for the US capital region.

Leonsis was a major player in the Wizards luring NBA superstar Michael Jordan back to the NBA following his career with the Chicago Bulls.

Jordan became a minority owner in the team, gave it up to play for two seasons and was sent packing in 2003 in a tense meeting with Pollin.

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Publication:AFP American Edition
Date:Nov 25, 2009
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