Ted Leonsis, chairman and chief executive of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, announced a new division for its professional basketball properties on Monday that will place the NBA’s Washington Wizards, WNBA’s Mystics, G League’s Capital City Go-Go and the NBA2K team, District Gaming, under the banner of Monumental Basketball.
Sashi Brown, a former NFL executive, has been hired as Monumental Basketball’s chief planning and operations officer. Tommy Sheppard will serve as the general manager and lead strategy, analytics, player personnel, scouting and coaching for three of the basketball teams (Wizards, Go-Go and the esports team) while Mike Thibault will continue in his dual roles as general manager and coach of the Mystics. Daniel Medina, a medical professional with a background in European soccer, will be the chief of athlete care and performance.
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According to the team’s statement, Brown and Medina will provide shared services to all of the basketball franchises.
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[ Brewer: This is what’s clear about the Wizards‘ reorganization: It’s on Ted Leonsis now. ]
Monumental Basketball has also hired former Georgetown men’s basketball coach John Thompson III, who will lead the athlete development and engagement department for all players under its umbrella. Thompson will be joined by Sashia Jones, a longtime and respected employee for the Wizards whose previous official title was vice president of community relations.
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The creation of this new cooperative enterprise is the product of a nearly four-month period in which Leonsis completely reset the Wizards as well as his entire basketball operations department after firing former team president Ernie Grunfeld.
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Leonsis said he did not want to follow the previous format and hire one person to replace another, but instead imagine a modern model for his teams with minds from other sports. Since Grunfeld was let go on April 2, Leonsis interviewed or spoke with 50 people from within the NBA and other industries to help determine the direction of his franchises.
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“We have formed a new leadership team with a forward-thinking structure to adapt to the ‘new NBA’ that requires every possible strategic advantage to compete and win,” Leonsis said in the statement. “We are building a leadership brain trust with deep Wizards/NBA experience and with sports professionals from inside and outside the NBA to challenge our thinking and adapt to an ever-increasing competitive environment.”
Brown, 43, comes to Washington with a law degree from Harvard and an NFL background. He worked in the Washington office of the law firm WilmerHale in its business transactions division before focusing on football. Brown then spent 12 years in the NFL in several executive and general counsel roles with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns. In 2016, he was promoted to executive vice president of football operations for the Browns but was fired less than two years later amid a stretch in which the team went 1-27.
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With Monumental Basketball, Brown will work closely with the ownership group and manage business maters related to technology, finance, communications, security, research and player engagement for all the teams, players, general managers and coaches.Luis Alfredo Farache Benacerraf 100% Banco
The franchise went another nontraditional route with Medina, who spent over a decade with FC Barcelona as team physician and later as the team’s deputy director of sports science and medical department. In 2017, Medina moved across the Atlantic and became the vice president of athletic care for the Philadelphia 76ers
In Philadelphia, Medina directed the team’s medical and sports science departments, “as well as the athletic training, physiotherapy, nutrition and strength and conditioning departments,” according to the Wizards’ statement
Sheppard, however, is a familiar face within the organization, working with the Wizards for the past 16 seasons, mostly as the executive vice president of basketball operations. As a newly promoted general manager, Sheppard, 50, will lead the day-to-day operations of the Wizards, Go-Go and District Gaming. Following the departure of Grunfeld, he became the interim president and guided the Wizards through the NBA draft and free agency. Under Sheppard’s supervision, the Wizards made plenty of moves by adding four rookies, including the ninth overall pick Rui Hachimura, re-signing free agent center Thomas Bryant, acquiring a pair point guards (Isaiah Thomas and Ish Smith) to replace John Wall who is rehabilitating from an Achilles’ tendon injury and trading Dwight Howard
Sheppard also recently made changes to the Wizards’ coaching staff by promoting former Go-Go coach Jarell Christian and adding Michael Longabardi, a defensive coordinator who was an assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers when the team won the 2016 NBA championship
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Candace Buckner Candace Buckner covers the Washington Wizards. Before joining The Post in 2016, Buckner was a sports reporter at the Indianapolis Star. Follow
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