Capitals

Capitals

Typically when you think Tom Haberstroh and Ted Leonsis, you'd think they'd talk strictly about the Washington Wizards.

While they did cover everything bastketball in the District, Leonsis's attention turned to an anecdote about former NBA Commissioner David Stern.

Leonsis had just signed Alex Ovechkin to a 13-year extension worth $124 million.

Stern called Leonsis and gave him a piece of his mind on the deal. "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. You will regret this decision for the rest of your life!" Leonsis recalls the former commissioner saying. "I said, 'thank you Mr. Commissioner, I appreciate it' and he hung up on me."

Leonsis and the Caps had the last laugh, as Ovechkin is one of the greatest goal scorers of all time and has a Stanley Cup win under his belt.

"Now people say, 'Do you have any regrets on Alex Ovechkin's 13-year deal?' And I say 'yes, I wish it was 15 years!' Leonsis noted.

Deals like Ovechkin's are now illegal in the NHL due to the reworked collective bargaining agreement, but before that deal was signed, Ovechkin could've signed anywhere after his rookie contract was up.

"Alex Ovechkin would've been the most coveted free agent of all time, right, in the NHL," Leonsis said of why he gave Ovi a monster deal. Everyone thought after his rookie deal and his first deal when he was gonna be an unrestricted free agent, he'd go play in Montreal, a Toronto, a New York."

Keeping Ovechkin was a big part of creating the new culture of the Capitals, and Leonsis believes keeping that talent and nurturing is even more important in the NBA.

 

"If you get a young player and they're a part of building your culture, and the team and the culture really becomes theirs, right, that's the key thing," Leonsis said. "And so if you're gifted, and you're gonna get paid in the NBA, why go play and be the third wheel?"

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