May 18, 2016

Courtside At Verizon Center (Almost)

So let's get it out of the way in the second sentence of this post. Yes, I went to a Washington Mystics game. For the first time. Ever. The Mystics have been around since 1998, so one year (and a bit) longer than I've been down in the D.C. area and a couple of years before I made the decision to spring for some Wizards season tickets. The WNBA started one year earlier than the Mystics started playing with eight teams and the league now consists of 12 franchises. Some decision that Wizards choice turned out to be.

So why a Mystics game? Well, I figured I deserved to see some pro hoops in the District in May and God knows, this past year's Wizards team ain't giving that to me. Plus the Mystics squeaked into the playoffs last season so maybe they are on the rise. Although we thought that about the Wizards too, right? But more than that, I think it was just time. I've spent the last few years expanding my professional basketball experience, including seven summer leagues in Vegas and criss-crossing the country in search of Wizards road contests and NBDL games so it's just time to give the women their due. At least for one game. To start.

Taking in a WNBA game is significantly different than watching NBA games at Verizon Center. There are obvious cosmetic differences: there are four 10 minute quarters instead of the game being 48 minutes long; the upper deck is closed entirely; the concessions stands are about as open as they were during the 2008-2009 19-63 Wizards campaign; and tickets are a lot lot cheaper. On this last point, we sat one row behind courtside on the non-bench side of the court and paid less (with fees) than I will pay for my lower level corner seat at a discounted price next year.

The action on the court is also different. This is definitely a below the rim league. Dunking is super super rare (although not unheard of but it's generally a really big deal when someone dunks) and the Mystics started two 6'-5" centers who were the tallest players on the squad. It's a game where passing is at a premium and you take maximum advantage of the other team's mistakes to capitalize on every opportunity to win the game. It's really a team game and not an isolation game that you so often find in the NBA. Imagine that...a team game. Huh!

Saturday's game was the 2016 season opener against the New York Liberty. The Mystics lost, just like the Wizards lost their home opener this past year to the New York Knicks. Washington losing to New York in season openers must be a trend this year. I know nothing about the personnel on the Mystics roster but it wouldn't have been a game without Tayler Hill in the first half and Bria Hartley in the second half. Those two kept it close for the Mystics but ultimately it was New York's ability to pick apart the Mystics' defense with their interior passing that turned a 45-45 halftime game into an 11 point loss. Oh well.

One of the reasons I love attending basketball games which are not Wizards games is to see how my non-Wizards experience might translate to what I sit through for 35-41 home games per year. Of course, I got some things out of my first ever WNBA game.

Jersey Advertisements Are Coming

We've known this for a while but it really hit home during Saturday night's game. The WNBA has been selling advertisement space on their jerseys for years. The Mystics last year were sponsored by the iNova Health System; this year, Verizon graces the Mystics' unis. The NBDL has been doing something similar the last couple of years and just this week, the Philadelphia 76ers became the first team to sell ad space on an NBA jersey in their deal with StubHub.

But the thing that struck me most about Saturday's game was the New York Liberty's jerseys. The words "New York" or "Liberty" appear nowhere on the jersey. There's just a DraftKings ad above the number and a Verizon ad below. For all we know, this could be the jersey of any team in any basketball league in the world. I think it's gone too far. I get that the NBA is only selling a 2" x 2" square of space on their jerseys, but I still don't like it and the owners don't need the revenue. I'm still hoping someone will see the error of their ways here but I don't think it's going to happen. I dread the 2017-2018 season.

Where's The Scoreboard?

OK, so I realize this is one of those first world problem type of things, but it's really difficult to figure out the score of the game from (almost) courtside. The score appears in no immediately available sight line. You are almost right below the center scoreboard which means you need to basically look straight up to see any sorts of statistical information. Yep, there's a score kept at the two ends of the building but those are admittedly hard to naturally glance at.

I liked the solution they employed at Staples Center in Los Angeles to allow the people with the fattest wallets to see the game replays and stats. At Staples, the underside of the center scoreboard is outfitted with monitors which display all the same game stats as the rest of the non-courtside patrons have access to. You know what? This issue is not likely to be a frequent enough issue for me to care about in all honesty. Let's move on.

Make Some Noise!!!

If you have ever attended a Washington Wizards home game at Verizon Center, it's likely you may have wondered if the team actually has any fans. The place is positively dead regularly. Now, I'm not talking about games against the Celtics, Knicks, Warriors (this year), Spurs (about the last four years) or any team with LeBron James on it (same fans, different jersey); in those games, the opposing fans (or "fans" if you prefer) definitely make their presence felt. But Wizards fans? The atmosphere makes me wonder. Now if the team could just encourage loyalty in fans by keeping season ticket pricing low. But that's a subject for few months ago...and likely next February.

From the seat map on TicketMaster when I bought our seats, I expected the lower bowl to be really full on Saturday night. It wasn't. It was about as full as a Wizards game on a Tuesday night at tip-off. That is, not packed at all. But when urged to make some noise, my God, do those Mystics fans make a lot of racket. It's actually quite awesome. I bet the 3,000 or so fans (my totally uncorroborated guess) at the Mystics' season opener made more noise than the Wizards experienced in most games this past year. I think the point here is Wizards fans suck at making noise and raising ticket prices doesn't help.

Bradley Beal Is Staying

One of the most noticeable changes to Verizon Center since the end of the Wizards season is the installation of a series of supergraphics in four location in the lower bowl of the building. In the two main entries to the 100 level on either side of the building, Monumental Sports and Entertainment has opened up its wallet and spent a few bucks on some murals featuring Wizards and Capitals players. John Wall and Alexander Ovechkin are featured on the F Street side of the building; Bradley Beal and Nicklas Backstrom are on the opposite side.

To me, this is just another sign that the Wizards intend to re-sign Beal at whatever cost is required, which likely means a maximum deal for player who's contribution may or may not fall close to maximum deal potential. Yes, I know these graphics were probably installed to get Caps fans fired up about a Stanley Cup run. I also know that the cost to replace the Beal side of the tunnel with [insert name of non-marquee free agent here] is super minimal but I still think this cements Bradley coming back next year. I hope that works out.

I initially wrote this post with a statement that I likely will not be watching a WNBA game in person again anytime soon. I'm not sure that's true. While I'm not as invested to near the degree I am in the Wizards, the second half comeback spearheaded by Bria Hartley on Saturday night was pretty exciting and I caught myself yelling "AND ONE!" after a made basket with a foul. Who knows...maybe there will be a second time. 

Now if only there were bobblehead giveaways...but we already know the answer to that question, right?

May 15, 2016


The NBA's Draft Lottery, the annual event that determines the selection order of the NBA Draft (this year held on June 23), will happen this week. For the first time in three years, when they moved up from the eight spot to number three, my beloved Washington Wizards are participating in this event. Finally, Wizards fans have an NBA event to look forward to, although don't get your hopes up, folks. The Wizards are part of this event this week because quite simply they failed to live up to expectations and ended up going home the day after the regular season ended after missing the playoffs.

So there's a silver lining, right? At least the Wizards will have a top 14 draft selection this year, correct? Well...not necessarily. You see, the Wizards (who finished 13th worst in the league this year) traded away their first round pick this year to the Phoenix Suns, the same organization that snagged our 2014 first round selection, in exchange for Markieff Morris. The good news here? It's top nine protected. The bad news? It's extremely unlikely that the Wizards will get a top nine pick.

If there's one thing for sure, it's that the Wizards draft selection will fall in the 1, 2, 3, 13 or 14 spot. If it ends up as a 1, 2 or 3 pick, the Wizards keep the pick and the Suns will end up receiving a future first rounder. If it doesn't, the Wizards will be out of the draft entirely, having already traded this year's second round pick on 2015 Draft night as part of the deal to acquire Kelly Oubre, Jr. for 674 minutes of game action this year.

The Draft Lottery is conducted by drawing a series of four ping pong balls marked with unique numbers. There are a total of 1,001 combinations, of which 1,000 are assigned to teams that failed to qualify for this year's playoffs. The first three picks in the draft are drawn by lottery. The remaining picks are assigned in reverse order of finish. The Wizards have six combinations, meaning they have a 0.6% chance of receiving the number one overall pick and a 2.2% chance of making it into the top three (or having a draft pick at all).

The Draft Lottery has operated in this exact format for 11 years prior to this one (meaning 14 teams in the lottery) and no team finishing worse than 9th worst has ever moved into the top three (that happened twice - Chicago in 2008 and Cleveland in 2014 - both times in the number one spot). That doesn't mean it can't happen for the Wizards but the odds are certainly against them. Get out all the lucky charms you can find and have them at the ready when the show airs Tuesday. I know I will. But expect to take June 23 off.

May 9, 2016

John Wall Bobblehead

For most Washington Wizards fans, the last two home games of the 2015-2016 NBA season were pretty meaningless, and that's really unfortunate. After a pre-season of Eastern Conference Finals talk from the Wizards and the Wizards press, we find ourselves less than a month removed from any meaningful basketball with the Eastern Conference SEMI-Finals in full swing. How on Earth did this happen? And those last two home games, by the way, were pretty strong finishes with a deliberately depleted roster against two teams jockeying for playoff position.

For those of us silver lining folks (and let's face it for the purposes of this post...bobblehead collectors), the second to last game against the Charlotte Hornets meant a ton. Finally, after five plus months of waiting, the Wizards handed out a bobblehead at the doors of Verizon Center to us hardcore fans. This is the one and only free bobblehead scheduled during the 2015-2016 campaign. The only other team issued bobble was a G Wiz Kids' Club-only Otto Porter bobblehead available to Kids' Club paying customers earlier in the year, but this was the only freebie.

When the promotional schedule for this season was announced, I initially panned the thought of yet another John Wall bobblehead this year. We got a J Wall bobble on the slate each of his first two years and then season ticket holders got an option on a starting lineup set a few years ago with a third Wall. Why did I need a fourth in John's sixth year here in D.C.?

Now, I'm taking back everything I said about this idea at the beginning of the season. Not only is John the most/only player on our team deserving of an initial or another bobblehead this year, this thing is gorgeous. The team definitely ordered this thing to be constructed and painted by the cream of the crop of the underpaid overseas workers putting these bobbles together into a finished product.
Why am I raving about this? Well first, it actually looks like John Wall. I know, it seems like this should be a minimum standard for bobbleheads, but it's not. No way! Very often we get the generic black man head on top of a body in a Wizards uniform. Check out the four JW bobbles above. In terms of realism, only the third and fourth (counting from the left) bobbleheads in the photograph look anything like John. His rookie bobble on the left looks suspiciously like the Andray Blatche bobblehead issued the year prior and the one next to it (his second year bobble in the brand new Wizards re-branded duds) is absolutely horrendous. It looks like some sort of evil elf or something.
In terms of facial details, it's the eyes, hair, smile and beard that make this thing a dead ringer for John. The beard detail along the jawline is especially effective. And of course with bobbleheads, it's the head that tells the whole story. Nobody really cares about the body because proportionally, they are always way off. Bobbleheads really have an adult head on top of a child's body.
I'm not crazy about the sleeved jerseys (in fact I can't stand them!) so I'm less than enthusiastic about what this bobblehead is wearing. I get that this season's third jersey celebrated the 1970s era Baltimore Bullets so the choice of uni makes a ton of sense here. I just don't like it. On the flip side, the lack of detail on the sleeved jerseys makes it way easier to paint. There are really no workmanship flaws on the front side; it's only when we get to the back and look at the termination of the striping on the top and bottom of the number that leads us to say "yep, I remember now - this thing was free."
Considering the apprehension I had at the beginning of the season, I'm happy about the latest addition to my Wizards bobblehead collection. This is probably the best looking free (if you ignore the rising cost of season tickets) bobblehead I've ever picked up at Verizon Center.
I'm still pulling for multiple bobbles next year. Hopefully Ernie and Ted can dangle a "you'll get your very own bobblehead" in front of some unrestricted free agents as inducement to play here next year.

May 6, 2016

Monumental-ly Good Idea

During this past season, I've written, tweeted and said a lot of negative things about the Monumental Rewards program invented by the owners of the Washington Wizards, Capitals and Mystics (and I guess now a yet to be named Arena Football team) prior to the 2013-2014 Wiz and Caps seasons. My written and spoken words this last year stand in stark contrast to my initial reaction to the program, when I declared it "one of the best, if not the best, benefits we have ever had as Wizards season ticket holders."

I hate complaining about benefits we didn't have five years ago but honestly, it's turned from a program that allowed the common fan access to some uncommon experiences, into a program to unload leftover free merchandise and allow people with hundreds of thousands of points (read: those who spend the most) to get even more stuff for free. It looks like it's good for everyone, but it's really all a ruse. What used to make me feel special as a long time season ticket holder now makes me feel like I'm getting cheated. Probably not fair to ownership here, but they do after all advertise it as a benefit. It's not really a benefit if you can rarely use it.

But the point of this post is to give credit where credit is due to the Monumental Rewards program. And that credit is in the bobblehead department, another area where I have been especially critical of Wizards ownership in the past couple of years. If you would have asked me how I would have improved the Monumental Rewards program this past year, I would have offered two suggestions: (1) bring back access to the VIP lounge experience that we had during the first two years of the program and (2) if you are not going to do that, start making exclusive bobbleheads available to season ticket holders. Guess what? For the first time, Monumental Rewards is now offering the second item on my wish list. Sort of.

Log in to the Monumental Rewards site today and you'll find an unavailable anywhere else Andre Burakovsky bobblehead. This is fantastic. I love it. Finally, there's a positive change in this program. Of course, it doesn't do Wizards bobblehead collectors any good because Burakovsky plays hockey for the Capitals. But it's maybe a sign that more bobbleheads might be coming. I could be fooling myself but I remain glass half full on this issue, even though I know my dream of a Randy Wittman bobblehead is now dead. The Burakovsky bobblehead costs 30,000 points. At that price, I have enough for three Monumental Rewards-only bobbles. Please get started on some Wiz bobbles ASAP. Markieff Morris, Marcin Gortat and Kelly Oubre are all under contract next year and currently without team issued bobbleheads. Come on, guys. You know you need to do this.

May 5, 2016


A little less than two months ago, Monumental Sports and Entertainment hosted a press conference at Verizon Center to announce the acquisition of an Arena Football League expansion team. Wizards owner Ted Leonsis was there. The radio voice of the Wizards, Dave Johnson, was there. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser was there. Former Philadelphia Eagle Ron Jaworski was there. Kiss' Gene Simmons was there. And I was there too. Albeit with a decidedly lower profile than the rest of the folks in this paragraph.

Why do I care about arena football? Well, I don't. Not a bit, although I suppose I could be talked into a game once the team actually starts playing in Washington. I didn't go to get hyped up about the AFL coming to Washington or for a chance to be in the background of an internet only broadcasted press conference or even to see Gene Simmons, although I have a couple of Kiss albums in my music collection and still consider Detroit Rock City one of the finest songs ever written. The reason I went to this lunchtime event was to set foot in the Etihad Airways Lounge in Verizon Center for the first time.

I know what you are thinking...I went all the way down to Verizon Center on a day that Metrorail wasn't working (yep this was the day they closed Metro for inspection) just to set foot in some room in the building? Yep, that's correct. I've been trying to get into this place without spending any extra money for the entire season. Call me crazy.

Hey, it's Gene Simmons!!!! Simmons is part owner of the Los Angeles AFL franchise.
One of the biggest complaints I have about being a Wizards season ticket holder this past season (other than the on court performance and lack of playoffs of course) was the reduction in benefits from the formerly excellent Monumental Rewards program the team instituted a couple of seasons ago. The best/only reward I ever wanted from that program was access to the two VIP lounges located under the north side of the lower bowl of Verizon Center. And for the prior two seasons, I got what I wanted. I immensely enjoyed access to the clubs at each end of the arena in addition to the opportunity to walk along the edge of the court. The program made me feel valued and special as a Wizards season ticket holder who's been toughing this thing out for 15 years.

But this year, the man decided to change the rules on us common folk who spend only a few thousand on season tickets each year (for over a decade) and deny us any sort of access to the lounges (including the brand spanking newly renovated Etihad Airways Lounge at the east end of the building) which smacked of being free in any way. No Monumental Rewards redemption opportunity. No one time entry courtesy of my ticket representative so we could kick the tires so to speak. No access at all without buying a VIP seat for at least a game. Apparently the VIPs who spend lots and lots of money complained about free access and management clamped down.

It even seemed to me that the Wizards and Capitals went to extraordinary measures to make sure riff raff like me didn't spoil the views of VIPs while they were downing their complimentary food and booze in the brand new Etihad Lounge. There was an item available on the Monumental Rewards webpage for VIP seats to a Caps game that specifically excluded access to the Etihad Lounge. And when we renewed our season tickets, we won VIP wristbands for a game that allowed us access to the lounge at the west end of the building but specifically excluded us from the Etihad Lounge. What the heck was the big deal? I had to find out. The AFL press conference was my chance. So I took it.

The new bar in the Etihad Airways Lounge.
If you had ever been to the former lounge under the east end of the building (entrance opposite the Wizards bench area), you might remember it as a fairly bland, dark, a little aged, narrow space with food stations on both the north and south walls. That space was fairly tunnel-like and led to a bar area through a set of doors at the end of the space on the right. The bar was approximately square and I remember it as being more dark than it really should have been.

All that is now changed. The space is completely opened up as a result of the former wall dividing the main food space from the bar being demolished and what used to be the south wall of the bar area being removed to expand the area even further. It's way more expansive, light and looks like a properly designed space. The old bar is gone and the widescreen televisions mounted at four or five places on the walls are now replaced with wall sized video screens. It's still fairly utilitarian since it's essentially an underground space (the ceiling is really low and the flooring is clearly designed to allow food spills) but it's clearly an upgrade over what they had before. I'm not sure it's worth fighting tooth and nail to keep people out but it's clearly a better more deluxe space.

There was also free food. So being completely devoted to covering the Wizards fan experience (or in this case the fan experience most fans are missing because they are just not special enough), I had to partake.

I'm not sure of course if the food at the AFL press conference was representative of the food available during Wizards games but for me, this food was an upgrade of what I used to have access to. In my 25 or so previous trips below Verizon Center to get some free grub and beer, I found few remarkable dishes. I love the Brussels sprouts and olives; the carving station is sometimes delicious; there was once a fantastic southwest style mac and cheese; and who can say no to the killer blondies and free strawberry shortcake ice cream bars but most of the food was what I would classify as arena quality. I realize I'm a snob here and I absolutely love hot dogs (which they had at every game) but I wasn't attached to the lounge access for the food.

At the AFL presser, I managed to sample a whole variety of snacks. I thought the spicy pimento cheese with pretzels, the hot sauce laden pork sliders, and the chili bar were especially good for this event. I'd come back again and again for those foods alone. Not that I'm allowed. Ever. Maybe.

So was free lunch and a chance to bask in the glow of a restricted access space on a Wednesday afternoon worth hoofing it all the way to Verizon Center from my office at 20th and K Streets NW worth it? Yeah, I guess so. Here's a final pitch to Monumental Sports and Entertainment from the little guy who's an extremely loyal fan: let us in to this place next year once in a while. I'll take one time the whole freaking season. This reward makes us feel so valued. Listen to me, please.

Hot sauce pork sliders and turkey chili with fixin's. Good stuff!

May 2, 2016

The End Of An Era

What a couple of weeks to take off from blogging about the Washington Wizards. After a disappointing season where expectations were high and continually dashed by lackluster play from seemingly everyone except John Wall, someone had to pay the price. And that someone turned out to be head coach Randy Wittman, who I have blogged about in pretty much nothing but glowing terms. There's a reason for that: Randy is by far my favorite Wizards head coach since I became a season ticket holder. In case anyone cares, here's my list.
  1. Randy Wittman (2012-2016)
  2. Eddie Jordan (2003-2008)
  3. Ed Tapscott (2008-2009)*
  4. Doug Collins (2001-2003)
  5. Leonard Hamilton (2000-2001)
  6. Flip Saunders (2009-2012)
* Number 3 by default because he was assigned to the position. Tell me I'm wrong. You can't really.

I think Randy lasted way longer than most people thought and way way longer than most fans wanted. Before you get too "I told you so" about wanting Randy fired, go back a paragraph or so and check out the names at the bottom of the list above and tell me you would rather have them than Randy at the helm of your team. I know you can't and please, don't kid yourself about Doug Collins. He was awful. There's nobody other than 1 and 2 above who did anything approaching an acceptable job in Washington.

Randy was handed the reins to the Wizards in January of 2012 after the team fired then coach Flip Saunders after a 2-15 start. He lasted four full seasons beyond the one he was hired into. In a job that is inherently temporary, that's pretty good. While Randy held the top spot in D.C. there were 49 coaching changes in the NBA. 49!!!!!! In a little less than five seasons. Admittedly not all were firings. Some resigned, some were just not re-hired and one died. But most were canned.

Want to know who's been part of all this? In alphabetical order...Rick Adelman. Bernie Bickerstaff. David Blatt. James Borrego. Jim Boylan. Scott Brooks. Mike Brown. Kaleb Canales. P.J. Carlesimo. Maurice Cheeks. Doug Collins. Tyrone Corbin. Mike D'Antoni. Vinny Del Negro. Larry Drew. Mike Dunlap. Derek Fisher. Lawrence Franks. Alvin Gentry, Lionel Hollins. Jeff Hornacek. Melvin Hunt. Lindsey Hunter. Mark Jackson. Avery Johnson. George Karl. Jason Kidd. John Loyer. Mike Malone. Kevin McHale. Nate McMillan. Doc Rivers. Flip Saunders. Byron Scott. Paul Silas. Keith Smart. Tom Thibodeau. Stan Van Gundy. Jacque Vaughn. Paul Westphal. Monty Williams. Mike Woodson.

I know what you are thinking. That's not 49. Nope, it's 44. That's because Mike Brown, Tyrone Corbin, Mike D'Antoni, Larry Drew and Lionel Hollins could have been on the list twice. Randy outlasted them all. He also outlasted four coaching changes each in Brooklyn and Sacramento. And you think the Wizards are messed up.

My Randy Wittman signed basketball, in its place of honor next to my mini Verizon Center.
But enough negativity. I genuinely loved the Randy Wittman era. But I can accept that it's over and I hope it only gets better from here. I get that the player rotations at times weren't that great and the offensive creativity wasn't stellar sometimes (despite the fact that I agree with Randy that offense really wasn't our issue this year), but I appreciated Randy Wittman's tenure with the Wizards and give him a lot of credit for sorting a complete mess out and making it better. Here's what I'll remember.

He brought defense and accountability to a franchise sorely needing both.
I think I read an article once that Randy asked when offered the job if he would have the front office whispering in his ear about playing certain players on the roster when he took over the team. He was apparently assured enough to agree to sit in the head chair and then proceed not to play JaVale McGee and Nick Young when they were not inclined to play hard or smart. He also exiled Andray Blatche after JaVale and Nick were traded away. And I mean exiled. Told him just not to come back. The next time Dray showed up at Verizon Center he was in a Nets jersey.

On the defensive side of the ball, he took a team ranked 23rd in defensive efficiency (which measures points surrendered per 100 possessions) the season prior to being named head man and turned them into a squad ranked 8th, 9th and 4th in his first three full seasons. Those teams could D-up, which you couldn't have said about too many Wizards squads in the last few decades. And that translated to wins. It's way easier to play offense than defense. Just ask James Harden. Randy got our guys to believe.

He was always straight with everyone.
There are some coaches in professional sports that you rarely get a straight answer from. Bill Belichick comes to mind here. Right or wrong, Randy was not that guy. He always talked openly and honestly about his thoughts on the team's performance and called people out candidly and (mostly) objectively, although I'm sure Marcin Gortat might have a thing or two to say about the word I put in parentheses earlier in this sentence. Basketball is not that complicated a game and there's no need for a head coach to mince words about performance or strategy. Randy is so committed to freedom of his own speech that it cost him $20K a few years ago. Old school, all the way! I love it.

I also love that Randy was completely candid with me when I bumped into him at National Airport when heading out to Summer League in 2013 and asked if I could ask him some questions. I've talked to Ernie Grunfeld before when I've had the opportunity and that guy gives up nothing. It's like trying to get information out of a stone wall. Randy was the opposite, giving me insight into the team openly and honestly, although I'm pretty sure the stuff he told me about Jan Vesely he should have kept to himself. Sometimes the best leadership calls for not being completely transparent.

He is the Wizards / Bullets all time leader in playoff win percentage as a coach.
Do I need to say much more than this? It's both a comment on the job Randy did in his time here and how sad the history of this team is. I get that the sample size is really small but he's number one in this category. He had a winning record in both postseasons.

I've always thought it takes a different leadership skill set to lead people in times of crisis vs. times of prosperity. To me, Randy Wittman did a great job stabilizing the Wizards team and franchise and he achieved some phenomenal success relative to the history of the franchise. But it appeared that was only going to get us so far. And this week saw the beginning of the Scott Brooks era. I hope he can duplicate his success in Oklahoma City right here in Washington. At least he's a credible coach who has taken a team to the NBA Finals. I applaud the Wizards for that. Brooks is already number three on my favorite Wizards head coaches of all time list and he hasn't conducted a single practice.

I still have all my Randy Wittman basketball cards. I'm not throwing those things away after the money I shelled out for them. I'm also not taking my signed basketball off my shelf. Maybe one day, but not these next few months for sure. Job well done, Randy. I hope you are proud of the work you did here. I sure am.