LINKS: Ted’s Takeover & The Mystics Coach On Attendance Banner Removal
It seems that D.C. can’t get enough good sports news these days. Weird.
Yesterday the Washington Nationals took Bryce Harper in Major League Baseball’s amateur draft with the first overall pick … I hear that guy’s supposed to be pretty awesome. Also, SB Nation had their official launch party for SB Nation DC, where I’ll be contributing as a weekly columnist on sports and the media. Big kudos to senior editor Mike Prada for the SB Nation DC launch by the way.
Speaking of … my first piece is up. Of course it’s about Stephen Strasburg, which brings us to Strasmas. I’ll be one of the lucky few going to Strasburg’s debut this evening. And I didn’t have to stand in line or pay scalper’s prices for tickets … just got hooked up by some cool bros who will undoubtedly be receiving some beverages of appreciation from me.
And that brings us to latest bit of good D.C. sports news … today the NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved the sale of the Wizards to Ted Leonsis. Sure, it was a mere formality, but Washington will take all the positive formalities it can get. So a big congrats goes to Mr. Leonsis for becoming officially official and congrats to Wizards fans as well.
Speaking of Leonsis, over a month ago on his blog, Ted’s Take, he wrote that it was time to remove the Washington Mystics “Attendance Champions” banners from the rafters of the Verizon Center.
“The only banners we should display revolve around winning a division or conference or league championship,” wrote Leonsis.
Coincidentally, on the Sunday before Memorial Day I was invited to cover a Mystics game. I gladly went, and will have more thoughts on the WNBA’s existence soon, but figured that while there, it wouldn’t hurt to ask the Mystics coach, Julie Plank, her opinion of the banner removal. Plank said:
“First of all, he’s the owner and he can do whatever he wants. I don’t really think anything of it. I can tell you one thing, our crowd was into it tonight. It said we had close to 9,000, but it was very loud, especially when we kept getting baskets and baskets. And I think our team loves this place. They know that it’s a special place to play, the Verizon Center.
I don’t think we need banners up there. I’m proud of our crowd and our team likes playing very much here. I think people around the league know that this is a tough place to play and that’s what we want to make it.
But there’s no doubt I wouldn’t mind having some championship banners as well.”
Of course Plank, who was named head coach in November 2008, wasn’t around when any of the former attendance champions banners were raised … and she was diplomatic as expected. But I will second her on the crowd. I found Mystics fans to be knowledgeable, cheering for deflections on defense, and passionate, practicing a standing ovation until the Mystics scored their first point.
In other words, the opposite of Wizards fans over the past couple of seasons … and with Mystics fans, you know they’re going to be with the team through thick and thin. The Wizards, on the other hand, have some of the most fair-weather fans in the NBA … I’m safely presuming. Hopefully Leonsis will help change that culture and bring out the DMV’s true sports passion … basketball.
TWO QUICK LINKS:
[Bullets Forever] Mike Prada argues that even with John Wall, the Wizards should make re-signing Shaun Livingston a high priority because makes his teammates better. I’ll also add that a Flip Saunders-coached team needs to depend on more than John Wall and Gilbert Arenas as the available point guards. Flip needs a prime backup, not scraps.
But the ultimate hindrance to Livingston rejoining the Wizards could come down to playing time. The New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers and Charlotte Bobcats could provide more opportunity and might make strong pushes to sign him this summer.
[DC Sports Bog] Caron Butler, while riding bikes with the Crown Prince of Denmark, says that D.C. is still his home.