For four decades, the NBA Finals have gone without an appearance from the Wizards. Washington has yet to make it back to the highest stage in professional basketball since 1979, when the Seattle Supersonics defeated the then-Washington Bullets in just five games.
So when the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors kick off the 2019 NBA Finals at 8 p.m. on Thursday, fans will look for the players (and others) with ties to either the Wizards or the Washington, D.C. area.
Here's how the Wizards and the D.M.V. are represented during the 2019 NBA Finals:
Former Wizards Players:
There are two former Wizards players represented during this year's NBA Finals, with both the Raptors and Warriors rostering one each.
Shooting guard Jodie Meeks, who appeared in 77 games for the Wizards during the 2017-18 season, was signed by Toronto in late March after the Bucks released him following a trade with the Wizards last October. Meeks has appeared in 13 games during the Raptors playoff run, and should see sparing minutes during the Finals.
For the Warriors, guard Shaun Livingston had two different stints in Washington, once during the 2009-10 season and the other during the 2012-13 season, before finding a permanent home in Golden State. Livingston appeared in a total of 43 games with the Wizards, starting 22, and averaged 7.0 points per game.
Since Livingston arrived in the Bay Area in 2014, the Warriors have gone on to win three NBA Finals, with Livingston playing a vital role in all.
Players from the Washington, D.C. area
Four Warriors players have ties to the Washington, D.C. area.
It's no secret that Warriors star forward Kevin Durant is from the Washington, D.C. area. Durant spent his junior year of high school at Rockville's Montrose Christian, before transferring to the powerhouse Oak Hill Academy for his senior year.
Although he elected to play his college ball at Texas rather than Maryland, Georgetown or any other local school, and has never played for the Wizards, Durant has stayed loyal to his D.C. roots and gave back plenty to the community.
Earlier this year, Durant opened up The Durant Center in his native Prince George's County. The facility is described as a "state-of-the-art facility offering students the academic, financial, and social-emotional resources to achieve their college and career goals." In 2018, Durant made a $10 million commitment to Prince George's County Public Schools.
Durant isn't the only Warrior that is from the D.C. area. Reserve guard Quinn Cook is from Washington, D.C., and played his first three years of high school at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md. before, like Durant, transferring to Oak Hill for his senior year.
After a stellar career at Duke University, Cook bounced around the G-League before finding a home with Golden State. The two are close friends, a friendship that dates back to their D.C. roots.
Other Ties to D.C.
Current Raptors President of Operations, Masai Ujiri, has ties to the Washington area as well. His wife, Ramatu Ujiri, is from Greenbelt, Md., which is less than 10 miles from D.C. Additionally, Ujiri is one of the potential candidates to replace Ernie Grunfeld for the same position with the Wizards.
Now the question is, would he do it? Soon, we will find out.
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