Ted Leonsis on the Tony Kornheiser Show | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Ted Leonsis on the Tony Kornheiser Show

Updated: September 23, 2010

[Author’s Note:  The editor of this site, Mr. Kyle Weidie, cannot stand Tony Kornheiser.  He thinks Tony is old, out of touch and unnecessarily negative about all things Washington Wizards–especially Gilbert Arenas.  He acknowledges Tony was a great sports writer at one time, but Kyle thinks those days are long gone.  I am a huge Tony Kornheiser fan, and I enjoy his articles, his books, PTI and his radio program, so for me to even get this article on Truth About It, is a coup of epic proportions.  Keep that in mind as you read please. -Rashad]

Washington Wizards Owner Ted Leonsis made an appearance on Tony Kornheiser’s radio show yesterday on ESPN 980 in Washington D.C., and his main focus was to discuss the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Challenge.  That event, which will take place on October 23rd, will feature several events (20 mile cycling, a 5k Walk, and a 3K walk just to name a few) that will start and end at the Washington Monument on the National Mall.  This event is designed to assist those individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and Best Buddies International (a charity that Leonsis is actively involved with), and the Special Olympics (founded by the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver) have partnered to make this event possible.

After Leonsis spent several minutes discussing this worthy event, Tony asked him to address some issues related to the Washington Capitals and the Wizards.  The Capitals-related issue involved Leonsis and his beef with the writer of this article.  But since we are a Wizards blog, we’ll spend more time delving into the basketball portion of Tony’s queries.

As a bit of background, Tony is not a fan of Gilbert Arenas.  He respects his talent and his abilities, but he does not respect the antics that come with having him on the team.  In fact last year, in an appearance on Dan Levy’s On The DL Podcast, Tony ripped Arenas by calling him “the worst person on the Earth.”   Despite my loyalty to Tony, I was incensed at this view, and I wrote a rebuttal and so did the editor of this site. It should also be noted that Tony went on that rant BEFORE Arenas brought guns in the locker room.

Since Leonsis was live on his talk show, Tony decided to ask him why he chose to hold on to Arenas, given that he is bringing baggage to a young team that includes number one draft pick John Wall.  Leonsis coolly delivered his retort:

“Well I think that he [Arenas] is a great player, and I think his deliverable is to be in shape and be a great teammate and a great player.  Because when he’s in shape and he’s healthy, he’s one of the best players in the league.  And so when we had our first conversation, that was his focus:  that I love the game of basketball, I miss the game tremendously and I owe it to you [Leonsis], I owe it to myself, I owe it to my family, I owe it to the fanbase to be the best player I can be.  And he has spent the offseason doing just that.  I went down and watched him play yesterday [Tuesday], and all he can do is become the player that he was, and I believe he can…I think we’re gonna have one of the best backcourts in the NBA.”

“You’re not a terrible cynic like I am, I’ll give you that,” Kornheiser resigned.

Leonsis also explained to Tony what he has been trying to do this summer as the Wizards owner:

“I’ve been in place as the majority owner of the team now for 100 days, and I’m trying to change and improve as much as I can.  I think our team will be younger and hungrier, and they’ll like one another more.  And I really do think chemistry and coach-ability and being in it together, helps improve a team.  And my belief is right now the that chemistry of this team is strong.  They like each other, they want to get to work, and so there’s an upbeatness that we’re trying to build because I think that’s good for some more wins every year.”

Leonsis definitely made up the word “upbeatness,” but that aside, he seems to really be sincere about keeping Arenas and building a cohesive, young team.  Of course this enthusiastic, positive outlook could quickly subside if the Wizards start poorly, but to dwell on that right now would be Kornheiser-ish of me, wouldn’t it?

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Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop, USAToday.com, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.

  • Michael

    Kornheiser is a moron. He’s mildly entertaining when not talking sports, but how a sports network actually pays him to give his opinion and analysis on sports is baffling (especially when he openly states he barely watches any sports besides a couple football games). Just a simple question to Leonsis like “why did you choose to hold on to Arenas?” demonstrates his incompetence. If Kornheiser had a clue he would know it’s because nobody else in the league wanted him. A dumbass question from a dumbass member of the media.

  • Rddm88

    FYI: when Tony says he doesn’t really watch games, he’s joking. It’s called schtick. He’s being ironic. Just imagine a moron like Stewart Scott or Chris Berman starting any highlight with something like “this just in, [so and so] is a good baseball player”, which I’m sure you laugh at. Theyre doing the same thing, he’s just better than they are.

    Oh, and by the way, do you really think that the wiz still have Agent Zero because no one else wants him? Your right, there’s no room on any other team for a narcisistic scorer; those don’t exist in The League.

  • Rddm88

    Ps Michael:
    What I’m trying to say is that you lack critical thinking skills and a developed sense of humor. Quit paying attention to Mr Tony and go back to watching “Two and a Half Men.”

  • 33dgriffin

    I’m been listening to Tony’s show for at least 10 if not longer, so I would call myself a fan of his radio show. However, I must say that he is totally off base when it comes to talking about Gil. He misrepresent facts, says Gil has destroyed the Wizards Franchise and on and on. I just have to turn him off when he’s talking about Gil because it makes my blood pressure rise.

    However, I think Tony’s opinion is the overriding opinion of most of the sports radio hosts in this town. You want them to talk about something other than the Redskins, however, when they do talk about the Wizards it’s clear they’ve not watched a Wizards game and don’t really follow the team.

  • Michael


    First of all, he doesn’t watch games. If you actually think he does, you lack critical listening skills because he is never able to make any intelligent comments regarding most sport topics and often starts a segment by saying, “I didn’t watch the game, but here are my thoughts.”

    Secondly, it’s not a schtick. He literally watched more American Idol last season than actual NBA games and if you think otherwise, you’re just as much as a moron as he is.

    And lastly, nobody in the league wanted Gilbert Arenas. Please name one other team that did and provide some actual evidence. The only team that came close to trading for him was the Orlando Magic (to my knowledge) but Dwight Howard basically nixed that deal (as well as probably any member of the Magic who knows anything about basketball). So in the end, not even the Magic wanted him. And since you’re a Kornheiser follower, let me just give you a heads up and tell you that indicating interest in Arenas does not actually mean a team wants him or is willing to trade for him.

  • Michael

    Ps Rddm88:
    What I’m trying to say is that you’re gullible and will eat up anything ESPN spoon feeds you. Keep paying attention to Mr Tony and you will continue to make a complete fool of yourself.