Funeral for Wizards owner Pollin to be held Friday

Updated: November 25, 2009, 6:23 PM ET
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The funeral for Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin will be held Friday.

The team said Wednesday that a public memorial service will also be held on Dec. 8 at Pollin's Verizon Center, the arena that spurred development in a downtrodden area of the city.

Pollin died Tuesday at the age of 85. Team spokesman Matt Williams said Pollin suffered from corticobasal degeneration, a rare brain disease. Williams said that Pollin had originally been diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy but the diagnosis was later changed. The conditions are similar, both affecting mobility, balance and speech.

Pollin made an initial donation of $1 million to the Society for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy in hopes of finding a cure and later donated another $2 million.

President Barack Obama issued a statement paying tribute to Pollin, who bought his NBA franchise in 1964 and was the league's longest-tenured owner.

"Abe believed in Washington, D.C., when many others didn't -- putting his own fortune on the line to help revitalize the city he loved," the president's statement said. "He was committed to the teams he guided, generous to those who needed it most, and as loyal to the people of D.C. as they were to him."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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