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Monument City: Which D.C. sports icon deserves a statue the most?

Monument City: Which D.C. sports icon deserves a statue the most?

When you think of Washington D.C. sports history, there is a multitude of legendary moments ranging from the mid-1900's up to the present day. When you think of all the greatness that encompasses D.C. sports, it makes you wonder, where are all of the statues?

On July 10 in Pasadena, Ca., 20 years after leading her team to the plateau, U.S. Women's National Team legend Brandi Chastain had her 1999 World Cup pose immortalized at the Rose Bowl to celebrate an iconic moment in U.S sports history. 

Across the country, it seems that in each major city, sports icons are commemorated for their achievements. In Chicago, Michael Jordan's famous pose is sculptured right outside of the United Center, as is in Green Bay with the great Vince Lombardi. Los Angeles is the home of the tribute to Jackie Robinson, and in the Midwest, future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning's sculpture sits in Indianapolis. In Boston, Bobby Orr is immortalized, and in Cleveland, Jim Brown is honored.

But what about here in the nation's capital? 

Legendary Georgetown head coach John Thompson Jr. was recently recognized with a statue in the John R. Thompson Jr. Intercollegiate Athletic Center on Georgetown's campus to commemorate his illustrious campaign with the Hoyas.

Other than Thompson, it feels that other D.C. icons should be in the queue to celebrate their achievements in the nation's capital. And if that is case, who should be on deck? 

These five come to mind.

Joe Gibbs

The most revered head coach in the history of the Washington Redskins, Joe Gibbs brought three Super Bowls to the nation's capital with three different quarterbacks. Gibbs has ventured on to other interests in his post-Redskins tenure, but remains one of the most recognizable and iconic figures in D.C. sports history

Alex Ovechkin

The greatest player in Washington Capitals history, Ovechkin led the Caps past the Golden Knights in 2018 to bring the Stanley Cup to the nation's capital for the first time in franchise history. Ovechkin has won the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy, given to the league's leading scorer, a record eight times.

Abe Pollin

The architect of D.C.'s Chinatown district, former Bullets/Wizards and Capitals owner Abe Pollin spent his life's work revitalizing downtown Washington, erecting the MCI Center in 1997 as well as Gallery Place, in addition to helping the surrounding neighborhoods and being a philanthropist in the nation's capital. Pollin, who passed away in 2009, helped bring the Baltimore Bullets to Washington, as well as the only title in the team's franchise history back in 1978. Former President Barack Obama praised Pollin after his death in 2009 on his impact on the city. 

"Abe believed in Washington, D.C. when many others didn’t – putting his own fortune on the line to help revitalize the city he loved," Obama said. "He was committed to the teams he guided, generous to those who needed it most, and as loyal to the people of D.C. as they were to him." 

Cal Ripken Jr.

Albeit playing his entire career across the Beltway in Baltimore, Cal Ripken was an icon in the DMV when there wasn't a pro team here in D.C. The Ironman played in 2,131 straight ballgames for the Orioles, usurping the record set by the lengendary Lou Gehrig, a record that will never be broken. The 19-time All-Star as well as a two-time American League MVP, is regarded as the best shortstop in MLB History. 

Wes Unseld

The undersized center is arguably the greatest outlet passer in NBA history. A member of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History as well as being the only player to ever win Rookie of the Year honors and Most Valuable Player honors in his inaugural season. Wes Unseld, who spent his entire entire 13-year career with the Baltimore/Capital/Washington Bullets, helped bring home the franchise's first and to this day, only NBA Title back in 1978.

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Bradley Beal snubbed in NBA 2K20 ratings

Bradley Beal snubbed in NBA 2K20 ratings

Bradley Beal has been snubbed yet again.

First All-NBA, now Beal was not even included in the NBA 2K20 top 20 rankings, which were released on a livestream on Monday.

LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard topped the rankings, followed by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant and James Harden. 

In what we're sure was a completely scientific poll, SLAM Gaming asked its followers if NBA2K got the rankings right. And, at least as of post time, nearly two-thirds of participants said no. 

Ahead of Beal in the rankings included Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell and Jimmy Butler. Zion Williamson was the top rookie in the ratings. 

Beal averaged 25.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game last season. That's clear above Mitchell (23.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists per game) and Butler (18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists per game).

The ratings are reportedly determined by a statistically based formula, though that hasn't ever stopped fans from expressing their ire at the game's rating gurus. 

Including John Wall in 2017. 

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Wizards Summer League superlatives: Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown Jr. were the stars

Wizards Summer League superlatives: Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown Jr. were the stars

The 2019 Las Vegas Summer League is in the books and this one was much more interesting for the Wizards than they have been in recent years. This year, they had a host of first and second-round picks play for them, as well as some players they recently acquired in their trade with the Lakers.

Here are some superlatives to put a bow on the Wizards' time in Vegas...

Best player: Troy Brown Jr.

Though he only played one game and one quarter before he was shut down with a left knee contusion, Brown was quite clearly the best player on the Wizards' Summer League roster. In his only full game, he put up 18 points and 15 rebounds. Though he only shot 40.6 percent in his brief time in Vegas, he looked like a guy who was advanced beyond the league's level of competition.

For Brown, the question is how much it matters because he essentially did what he should do as a second-year player. It is encouraging and he should draw confidence from the experience. But now he has to show he can produce like that in real NBA games.

Best newcomer: Rui Hachimura

Hachimura only played three of the Wizards' five games and in his first two outings produced uneven results. But his third game was pure dominance, as he posted 25 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals. He proved a quick learner by adjusting and improving game-by-game.

All in all, it was a solid start to Hachimura's career. He displayed versatility and smarts both on offense and defense. It should give Wizards fan hope he can contribute as a rookie.

Most improved: Isaac Bonga

Many of the players on the Wizards' roster were not returning from last summer, but Bonga showed a nice leap year-over-year from what he did for the Lakers in 2018. Though he wasn't one of the Wizards' best players, he ended up with solid numbers of 8.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. He shot 45.5 percent from the field in 20.2 minutes of action.

The best thing Bonga showed for the Wizards is his athleticism. He is a full 6-foot-9, yet has the mobility of a guard. He is a long ways away from being NBA-ready, but at 19 years old gives the Wizards an intriguing prospect to stash in the G-League.

Needs improvement: Issuf Sanon, Moe Wagner, Admiral Schofield

It wasn't the best Summer League showing for Sanon, the Wizards' 2018 second-round pick. He only played a total of 48 minutes in four games and shot 18.2 percent with 1.5 points per game. The Wizards were experimenting with his position, playing him both at point and off the ball, and he didn't look comfortable doing either.

Granted, Sanon's biggest strength at this point is his defense, but he doesn't seem to have any NBA-ready offensive skills. Unless he gets up to speed quickly, he will have to become really, really good on defense to make the leap overseas.

Like Bonga, Wagner debuted after coming over in the Lakers trade. But Wagner didn't have the best time in Las Vegas, as he shot just 31 percent from the field and 7.1 percent from three. It was a small sample size of just four games, but Wagner is known as a shooter and didn't look like one in the Summer League. He also had trouble on defense against quicker match-ups.

Schofield, the Wizards' 2019 second-round pick, shot poorly (38.5 FG%, 22.2 3PT%) and struggled to find his role on defense. He has some intriguing qualities, but it might take him some time to figure out how to compete against NBA athletes while lacking height and quickness to play the way he did in college.

Biggest surprise: Jemerrio Jones

Perhaps this should not be surprising because it is what Jones is known for, but his rebounding really stood out. He played only about 27 minutes in three games, yet pulled in 13 boards. That breaks out to 4.3 rebounds in 8.9 minutes per game, or about one rebound every other minute. He averaged 17.4 rebounds per 36 minutes.

Keep in mind he is only 6-foot-5. Based on efficiency, Jones was the Wizards' best rebounder and he is the size of a shooting guard. He has a lot to improve on before he can stick around in the NBA, but it will be fun watching him grab 15-plus boards on the regular this season with the Go-Go. 

Biggest disappointment: Wizards' opponents

If there was one prevailing theme in the 2019 Summer League it was teams holding out their top draft picks either due to actual injuries or the fear they will suffer one. The Wizards saw this firsthand. They even did it themselves by keeping Hachimura out of two of their games.

The Wizards played the Pelicans without first overall pick Zion Williamson or Jaxson Hayes, the eighth pick, or even Nickeil Alexander-Walker, the 17th pick. They played the Hawks without De'Andre Hunter (fourth pick) or Cam Reddish (10th pick). And the Nets and Clippers didn't have any top draft picks of note.

The Wizards did get to see third overall pick R.J. Barrett and the Knicks in their final game. New York also had Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox, as well as Iggy Brazdeikis, who was a Summer League standout. But neither Hachimura or Brown played in that game for Washington.

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