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Wizards owner Ted Leonsis issues statement on Supreme Court decision to allow legalized sports betting

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Wizards owner Ted Leonsis issues statement on Supreme Court decision to allow legalized sports betting

The Supreme Court's decision on Monday to pave the way for legalized sports betting is expected to change how we consume sports and Wizards and Capitals majority owner and CEO of Monumental Sports and Entertainment Ted Leonsis has been gearing up for this for quite some time. He has spoken often about the subject and how his own businesses will adapt to a new era in the sports industry.

After the ruling came down, Leonsis issued a statement via his 'Ted's Take' website. The statement began with a breakdown of the interest in sports betting and how making it legal could produce a safer environment for sports fans to place bets. He compared the industry to Wall Street and how similar regulations could be applied to sports gambling.

Leonsis later went into how the ruling could affect the sports fan experience in general.

Many ask if this decision will impact the integrity of sports themselves.  I think it’s just the opposite.  I think that the increased transparency that will accompany more legalized betting around the country will only further protect against potential corruption.  They say sunlight is the best disinfectant, and in this case I believe that is certainly true. 

Of course, there are a huge number of questions about how today’s decision will play out across different states and throughout the different leagues.  I don’t claim to know all of those answers today, but what I do know is that this is a new frontier for professional sports and teams who don’t seize on this opportunity will be left behind.  As millennials and Gen Z continue to embrace the second screen, it’s not hard to imagine in the near future fans on their devices analyzing data, placing bets and communicating with each other in real time during games.  Legalized sports betting will only bring fans closer to the game, ramping up the action in each minute and creating more intensity.  It will bring new revenue into the economy, creating jobs and growing our tax base.  Today’s decision is a great one for sports fans and I am eager to embrace it.

Leonsis went into great detail about how legalized sports betting could change his businesses earlier this year in an interview with ESPN. Leonsis envisions Capital One Arena being an interactive betting landscape for fans watching games and even the potential for the arena to serve as a new-age sportsbook. Hotel rooms inside the arena for bettors have even been discussed.

The future of sports may have shifted dramatically with Monday's ruling. Though it will likely take a few years to happen locally, expect Leonsis, along with the Wizards, Capitals and other Monumental Sports teams, to be at the forefront.

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Mystics star Kristi Toliver excited to officially join Wizards coaching staff

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Mystics star Kristi Toliver excited to officially join Wizards coaching staff

After months of serving a variety of roles for the organization, Kristi Toliver now has an official title with the Washington Wizards. The Mystics star has joined Scott Brooks' staff as an assistant coach and assistant for player development.

Toliver, 31, will remain a member of the Mystics, who play their season during the summer. The lack of overlap will allow her to focus much of her time on the Wizards and what she hopes becomes a long and successful coaching career.

She chose joining the Wizards over continuing to play professionally this year overseas, an option many WNBA players use in the offseason. But she has a coaching dream and happens to have caught on with the hometown team.

"This is the opportunity of a lifetime. When it came about, I wanted to be involved in any capacity that I could," Toliver said.

Toliver is the first active WNBA player to serve on an NBA bench and just the second woman after Becky Hammon, who is an assistant for the San Antonio Spurs. Toliver plans to reach out to Hammon after getting her phone number from Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird.

Toliver is honored to be in the same category with Hammon, whom she looked up to first as a player and now as a coach who has become a trailblazer in the profession.

"I know she's going to be somebody that I can ask questions to," Toliver said. "I will pick her brain about how she played and I will pick her brain about how she is coaching."

Hammon joined the Spurs' coaching staff in 2014 after years of helping the team out in other ways. Now that there are two female NBA assistants, the logical question is when one will become a head coach.

Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal can already attest to Toliver's impact and said there could be a female head coach "very soon."

"I wouldn't be surprised if it happened sooner rather than later," Beal said. "If you know the game, you know the game. Plain and simple."

Toliver has served as a coach in the Wizards' 5-on-5 scrimmages at practice. She has also been particularly helpful with ball-handling, which makes sense given she's the starting point guard for the Mystics. Toliver has helped a variety of Wizards players in dribbling drills including the big men like Jeff Green and Dwight Howard.

Coaching has required an adjustment for Toliver, who is used to having the ball in her hands running the offense. But just as being a player can help her as a coach, she expects to become a better player now seeing the game from a new perspective.

"I'd much rather be playing, I know that. But it's good to think the game in a different way and from a different point of view," she said.

Brooks has been effusive in his praise of Toliver ever since she began helping out in the Las Vegas Summer League in July. He invited her to join the staff over the phone shortly before the Summer League began and will admit he did not know at the time the relationship would get this far.

But over the summer, Brooks lost two assistants to other teams in Chad Iske and Sidney Lowe, paving the way for some movement on his staff. He promoted several positions from within and an opening was created for Toliver to come on board.

"She's a special talent. She's going to be moving through the ranks pretty quick," Brooks said.

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Mystics' Kristi Toliver joins Wizards coaching staff for 2018-19 season

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Mystics' Kristi Toliver joins Wizards coaching staff for 2018-19 season

It's certainly not uncommon for professional athletes to make the transition into coaching following their playing days. We have seen more and more of this in recent years throughout sports, especially with younger coaches getting the chance to lead teams. 

What is uncommon is when a professional athlete begins their quest for life after playing while they're still playing. 

Washington Mystics veteran guard Kristi Toliver is joining the Wizards' coaching staff, the team announced Tuesday. 

The news comes after the 10-year WNBA pro got her feet wet on the Wizards' bench during Vegas Summer League play in July. 

Along with Elena Delle Donne, Toliver helped lead the Mystics to the 2018 WNBA Finals, before ultimately falling to the Seattle Storm. 

The 31-year-old was drafted third overall by Chicago in 2009 after leading her Maryland Terrapins to a national championship in 2006. 

Toliver will serve as an assistant coach and focus on player development for head coach Scott Brooks. 

Coach Brooks also welcomes Robert Pack and Ryan Richman to the front of the bench. Pack served as assistant coach under Brooks for two seasons during their Oklahoma City Thunder days while Richman led the team during summer leage play and is entering his fifth year in Washington. 

The Wizards open their 2018-19 regular season Thursday against the Miami Heat inside Capital One Arena. Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. 

 

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