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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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Wizards District Gaming takes JBM with No.1 pick in 2020 NBA 2K League Draft

Wizards District Gaming takes JBM with No.1 pick in 2020 NBA 2K League Draft

Sixty eight gamers' lives changed on Saturday night. 

One of those very lucky individuals was Jack Mascone, who was selected by Wizards District Gaming with the No.1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft. 

Wizards’ managing partner Ted Leonsis had a special message for the point guard from New York, who joins the Monumental Sports & Entertainment family. 

“On behalf of the Wizards, Mystics and Go-Go we’d like to welcome JBM to the Monumental basketball family. Congratulations on your hard work paying off. We’re excited to have you run the District with us,” Leonsis said.

Wizards District Gaming also drafted small forward Justin Howell in the second round, No. 30 overall, small forward Antonio Newman, No. 37, and utility Brandon Richardson at No. 51 in the third round. 

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Rui Hachimura's learning curve can be seen on offense late in games

Rui Hachimura's learning curve can be seen on offense late in games

WASHINGTON -- Wizards forward Rui Hachimura has translated so smoothly to the NBA level that it is easy to forget he is still just a rookie with only 31 games under his belt. For a reminder of his inexperience, just look at the fourth quarter.

Hachimura tends to start games hot on the offensive end, like he did on Friday in the Wizards' loss to the Cavaliers when he had eight points by the end of the first quarter. But he scored only nine points after that and went scoreless through seven minutes in the fourth.

That has been a consistent theme for him this season. He averages 4.8 points in the first quarter shooting 48.4 percent from the field, 4.0 points in the second shooting 57 percent and then 4.3 points on 47.9 percent in the third. In the fourth quarter those numbers plummet to 1.9 points on average and 33.3 percent shooting.

Basically, Hachimura often comes out on fire but then slows down considerably once opponents make midgame changes. Against the Cavs, Hachimura said it was because they disrupted passing lanes.

"They are an NBA team. They just adjusted. They didn't want me to catch the ball. They didn't let me just catch the ball. I think that's why," he said.

The Wizards have seen teams switch defensive match-ups midgame to counter Hachimura. Sometimes taking away his midrange jumper will be prioritized. The Cavs seemed to find success playing Hachimura more physically in the second half, bumping him away from his comfort zones.

Over time, Hachimura can improve his ability to sustain scoring throughout games simply by becoming more versatile. The more consistent he becomes at making three-point shots and creating off the dribble, the more difficult it will be for teams to stop him. As long as he keeps improving, he will reach a point where he can stay ahead of the defense with a multitude of counters.

Developing a more reliable outside game and more dribble combinations will take some time. For now, Hachimura believes the key to him keeping up his scoring pace involves working with his teammates, particularly star shooting guard Bradley Beal.

"I just gotta connect more with Brad. Brad is the one everybody is trying to guard. Screens and pick-and-rolls with him, that kind of stuff will help me," Hachimura said.

Hachimura's game against the Cavaliers reflected how the team played overall. After scoring 41 points in the first quarter, they managed only 42 in the second half. They blew a 16-point lead and lost, 113-108.

So, he wasn't alone. And those rooting for Hachimura to round out his game should feel good about his odds. He has a relentless work ethic and is often staying after practice to go over film with player development coach Dave Adkins.

Hachimura is perceptive and driven to improve. In order to take the next step as a scorer, he will have to get better at closing games.

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