President Obama reportedly told Leonsis to seek players who, "championed the beauty of the game, teamwork, sacrifice”

By Michael Shapiro
August 14, 2019

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis canvassed the country for advice on Washington's franchise overhaul this offseason by speaking with 78 individuals over a 3.5 month period, according to The Washington Post's Candace Bucker.

Leonis reportedly spoke with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and Klutch Sports agent Rich Paul among others during the offseason, but one other individual was particularly notable: President Barack Obama. 

Leonsis considers Obama a friend, and the pair have discussed the state of the Wizards before, according to Buckner. 

"Obama championed the 'beauty of the game, teamwork, sacrifice' and surrounding franchise stars with complementary pieces," Buckner wrote on Wednesday. "Obama, who has taken on a role with the NBA-backed Basketball Africa League, also encouraged Leonsis to invest in scouting in Africa."

Leonsis fired former Washington general manager Ernie Grunfeld in April after 16 seasons with the organization. The Wizards named Tommy Sheppard their general manager in July. 

The Wizards finished 11th in the East in 2018-19 at 32–50. They have not reached the conference finals since 1979.

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