Washington Wizards owner and GW alumnus Abe Pollin was inducted into the GW School of Business Sports Executives Hall of Fame at a ceremony in the Smith Center on Monday.
National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern gave a speech at the Smith Center Monday afternoon recognizing Pollin’s business and philanthropic endeavors. University President Steven Knapp and Board of Trustees Chairman Russell Ramsay also spoke.
A 1945 graduate of GW, Pollin is the sixth alumnus to enter the Hall of Fame since it was established in 2007. Other inductees include Washington Nationals owner Ted Lerner, New York Yankees President Randy Levine and former Baltimore Orioles Manager Sam Perlozzo.
Lisa Delpy Neirotti, professor of sports management and tourism and founder of the Hall of Fame, said Pollin’s long tenure in the NBA and innovative skills made him worthy of recognition. Neirotti singled out his work constructing the Verizon Center, a project that is now being held up as a case study for redeveloping struggling urban areas.
“His willingness to take a risk was really quite impressive,” she said.
In addition to the sports industry, Pollin is also involved with the Salvation Army, the Community Capital Campaign and the “I Have a Dream” Foundation. Last year he donated $1 million to the Society for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.
“The Sports Executive Hall of Fame recognizes leaders who have “made it to the top echelon of the field,” Neirotti said. Though all of its inductees have so far been GW alumni, it is not a requirement for membership.
“We’re looking for somebody who has helped us out,” Neirotti said, adding that an individual who has been an adjunct professor or guest speaker could be a potential member. “We want people who have supported the sports management program in one way or another.”