Ted Leonsis hasn’t shied away from talking about how he wants to change the culture of the Wizards’ organization. The longtime owner of the Wizards, Mystics and Capitals went on “The Habershow” with NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh on Friday to discuss the state of the team and his thoughts on a wide array of topics from around the league.
About halfway through the interview, Leonsis spoke about Bradley Beal and John Wall—breaking down how the Wizards’ brass convinced Beal decided to sign a two-year extension with the team.
“Brad and John are way closer than the media portrays,” Leonsis said. “They are also deeply immersed in the culture of the NBA and history of the NBA. Having a great backcourt is priority one and why would you want to, if you're a great player, be a sidekick, if you will. And is that leading to happiness? I mean that's the amazing thing that you see. You've never seen as many unhappy people as you’re seeing in the NBA.”
Leonsis believes Beal has bought into the new identity Washington is trying to develop. He pointed to other stars around the league and pondered why they’d sign with teams that aren’t prioritizing them as their No. 1 players.
“If you get a young player and they’re a part of building your culture and the team, the culture really becomes theirs,” Leonsis said. “That’s the key thing and so if you’re gifted, and you’re gonna get paid in the NBA, why go play and be the third wheel? It’s counter-intuitive to me. Like, it’s LeBron’s team in LA. How’d it go last year? Did anyone look happy in LA? So Brad and John and the players here, they’re a part of something and it’s gonna be really, really hard. But [they’re] in it together.”
Haberstroh and Leonsis talked for over an hour about the Wizards and NBA in general. You can hear the full podcast at the link above or check it out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.
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