The following statement was released Tuesday afternoon by the Washington Wizards:

Washington Sports & Entertainment Chairman Abe Pollin passed away earlier today. Further details will be released through Washington Sports & Entertainment as they become available. The Pollin family asks that their privacy be respected in this difficult time.

Philly Burbs reports: Pollin was known as a driving force in the revitalization of downtown Washington, particularly in the Chinatown area where the Wizards play, as well as a loyal man and passionate owner who desperately wanted to bring another championship to a franchise that last celebrated a title in 1977-78, when Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes were the team’s stars.

The Washington Post reports: Decades ago, Abe Pollin showed up at Wes Unseld’s wedding. Years later, he showed up at Unseld’s father’s funeral. Fill in the blanks for all the moments in between, “too many to even mention,” said Unseld, a man who worked for Pollin as a player and a coach and an executive. More than 30 years ago, Pollin met young lawyers who were just showing up in a business in which he had already toiled for years. “He couldn’t have been nicer to me, a kid lawyer,” said Gary Bettman, now the commissioner of the NHL. “Just extraordinarily kind, when he didn’t need to be,” said Stan Kasten, now the president of the Washington Nationals.

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