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Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis praised the leadership of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, and said that professional basketball is well positioned to take advantage of sweeping changes taking place in the sports world.
Speaking to CNBC during the NBA's All-Star weekend, where players were showing off their skills and the owners are talking about the state of the league, Leonsis touted the league's growth and relative advantages to other sports.
"We have so many things going for us," Leonsis said, speaking from the NBA's All-Star Tech Summit last week. He stated that if the NBA were a stock, It's a growth stock that's going to keep on growing, citing the rise of international growth of the league.
"First of all we have high speed cameras, high speed data to make the game more transparent and set us up for the two trends of gaming and gambling," he added.
Leonsis was participating in a panel on sports gambling, a concept the Wizards have embraced early on. The Wizards recently have broadcast some of their games on an alternate local channel that caters to sports gamblers, providing them real-team odds and offering contests to create engagement.
Recently, ESPN reported that Adam Silver's success as the NBA's commissioner has led NFL team owners — and even Fortune 500 companies — to approach him to consider leading their organizations.
Leonsis sang Silver's praises, saying that the commissioner is "steady as a rock, and the most graceful businessman I've ever been around," he said. The Wizards CEO said he was impressed the way Silver has managed through multiple points of views at ownership meetings, and that the players have always come first.
"He believes in democracy and he hasn't been tyrannical in the way he's gotten the best of us," he added.
Last week, Amazon created a firestorm after it axed a proposal to build a second headquarters in New York City, amid a groundswell of local opposition to the project. Northern Virginia was the second site selected by the online retail giant, and Leonsis spoke highly about Amazon's presence in the region.
"I can't speak at all to [the controversy] In New York, but we've welcomed Amazon with open arms to Northern Virginia and Washington DC," Leonsis said, adding that he's worked with Bezos and the company since 1994.
"We're absolutely thrilled that they've come to DC," he said citing everything from the workforce to the technology infrastructure that it has brought. "Three airports, eight universities… we all came to gather to create an environment that said we want Amazon to come to our community, and we're thrilled they made that decision"