- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 4, 2002

Seen and heard last night at MCI Center:
LAETTNER GETS THE CALL: Christian Laettner has become somewhat of a forgotten man this season, despite the fact he is collecting more than $4million this season.
But Wizards coach Doug Collins got him his second start of the year, inserting him as the team's starting power forward and moving struggling rookie Kwame Brown to the bench.
Collins made the move because he needs production from both players. Laettner has had trouble getting much of anything going this season as Collins has used him sporadically. Laettner came into the game averaging 15.4 minutes and a career-low 4.2 points. However, Laettner hit a fadeaway jumper in the third quarter for his 10,000th career point.
Brown, on the other hand, has sputtered all season with the exception of the first three games. Brown came into the game averaging 8.6 points and a team-high 7.1 rebounds.
Look for Collins to stick with this change for a few games. If Brown becomes more comfortable in the offense, then Collins likely will reinsert him in the starting lineup.
AGING WITH GRACE: The game marked the fifth year of operation for MCI Center.
Say what you will about Abe Pollin, but don't knock the success his building has been. MCI Center has done just what Pollin said it would: revitalize the downtown area.
The building has generated $37million in taxes to Washington, and a recent report attributed $3.3billion in new development in the area, including hotels, restaurants, businesses and apartments.
The building also is credited with having increased the use of the Metrorail system, with an estimated 60 percent of the system's patrons attending events at MCI Center.
"This is the nation's capital and it deserves the best," Pollin said. "We wanted it to be the spark plug of the economic turnaround for the city, because this city had hit rock-bottom. If you look around it looks like a different place."
Yes, it does.
— John N. Mitchell

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