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And Pollin showed he was willing to exceed the salary cap if it meant retaining those who he believed could make his championship dream happen.

Pollin developed a soft spot for certain players. But he could be tough if he thought the allegiance went one way.

That was one of the elements that led to the celebrated dismissal of Michael Jordan, the basketball icon who might have been a sacred cow to any owner but Pollin.

Even as Jordan filled the arena to capacity in his two seasons as a player with the Wizards, Pollin knew he was ill-suited as the team’s president of basketball operations.

Jordan was too much the celebrity and duffer to be bothered with mundane scouting duties. And he never really allowed himself to be assimilated into the franchise. And so, difficult though it may have been, he was shown the door.

Pollin also believed in the rebirth of downtown. It was that belief that spurred his decision to build the arena in what was then downtrodden Chinatown.

“There is no downtown redevelopment without Abe and the Verizon Center,” Johnson said. “Back then, I didn’t see too many people lining up to go there. But that was Abe. He believed in the community. Not only would he give, he inspired others to give. He was determined and sincere.”

And he is the last of a kind in the NBA.

As commissioner David Stern said, “The NBA has lost its most revered member.”