Bradley Beal urges Ted Leonsis to keep Wizards in city limits: ‘You can’t take the team out of D.C.’


Earlier this month, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced plans to move the Wizards out of Washington, D.C. in favor of a multi-billion sports and entertainment complex located on the other side of the Potomac River.

A new arena for the Wizards and the Washington Capitals, the city’s NHL franchise, will be constructed in the Potomac Yard area in Alexandria, Virginia. The project will be funded under a public-private partnership and is set to break ground in 2025, according to Youngkin’s office. The project’s tentative completion date is scheduled for late 2028.

The Wizards and Capitals both currently play home games at Capital One Arena, which is located in downtown Washington, D.C.  But, former Wizards star Bradley Beal does not appear to be on board with his old team’s pending move to Virginia.

“D.C., I’m here with you. I’m with you all,” Beal said in the most recent edition of his year-long diary with ESPN’s Andscape. “There is no moving to Virginia. What is that, [Wizards owner] Ted [Leonsis]? We love you to death. We understand what you want to do and are trying to do. But you can’t take the team out of D.C. It’s Chocolate City. As a league, we need it. It has to stay in D.C. now. The money? Listen, it’s out of my hands and out of my control. I ain’t got nothing to do with that. Hopefully [Washington] mayor [Muriel] Bowser can work something out with you.”

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Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis talks with Bradley Beal #3 after the game against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena on March 30, 2022 in Washington, DC. (G Fiume/Getty Images)

Beal also suggested that the Wizards long-term presence in Washington would benefit the city. He also referenced the relocation of Washington’s NFL franchise to Maryland when he brought up the potential drawbacks of the NBA franchise departing from the city limits.

“I hope the team stays. It’s good for the city. It creates a little bit of a problem, just my personal opinion, if it moves to Virginia. It’s probably similar to how people felt when [the Commanders] moved to Maryland. It is a tough thing. We just got to get everybody back to D.C. just rebuild RFK Stadium, rebuild Cap One (Capital One Arena). Keep it in the city. We can make it happen and they can make happen.”

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In addition to the arena, the proposed district would also include a music venue and hotels. A new global corporate headquarters for Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the parent company that controls the Wizards, Capitals, and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, would also be constructed on the site. 

The Mystics currently play home games at Entertainment and Sports Arena near southeast Washington, D.C. The facility also houses the Wizards practice facility. The Mystics could move to Capital One Arena once the Wizards and Capitals depart.

Bradley Beal waits for a shot

Mar 18, 2023; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) looks on against the Sacramento Kings during the second half at Capital One Arena. (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)

Leonsis pointed out that Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is located in Arlington, Virginia, instead of Washington, D.C.

“That notion of community in the DMV really is what our business is about,” Leonsis said, per the Washington Post. “That’s the higher calling for sports. That is the higher calling on everything that we do – to build these legacies through winning championships from doing the right things in the right way by our fans, so that people can appreciate the community that they live in. It’s no secret that this great airport here was considered Washington National, and yet it’s in Virginia.”

Capitol One Arena exterior

An exterior shot of Capitol One Arena introducing Johnny Davis the #10 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft of the Washington Wizards on June 24, 2022 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. (Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)

The proposal could face headwinds at the legislative level. Virginia state senator Louise Lucas notably announced her intention to vote against the deal.

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Beal was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and went on to spend 11 seasons with the Wizards. He was a three-time NBA All-Star during his standout tenure in Washington. He was traded to the Phoenix Suns in June as part of a blockbuster trade for Chris Paul.

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