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Abe Pollin, 85, the Washington sports entrepreneur who owned the Wizards basketball team and the Capitals hockey team, died Tuesday. Details on where he died and the cause of his death were not immediately available. He reportedly had a rare brain disease.

Pollin was among the last of the old-school pro sports owners who ran his teams as a family business, shaped by his strong personality and his intense loyalties. His teams lost more than they won, and fans often criticized his personnel moves and his failure to spend more money, but Pollin invariably remained set in his ways.

He was also a major philanthropist in the community, paying for affordable housing and endowing a local Boy’s and Girl’s Club. His grandest project was building the MCI Center (now Verizon Center) in 1997 and triggering a stunning renaissance of Gallery Place and surrounding neighborhoods.


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