[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?