The Washington Wizards principal owners, Monumental Sports & Entertainment announced Wednesday morning that General Manager Tommy Sheppard has been promoted to President in addition to General Manager of the Washington Wizards and Chief Planning and Operations Officer Sashi Brown has been promoted to President of Monumental Basketball and Special Advisor to the Office of the CEO at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, Ted Leonsis. Both have also been signed to multi-year contract extensions with Washington off to their best start since 1974 at 10-3 (10-4 after a loss to the Hornets later on Wednesday) and the top of the Eastern Conference.
“Tommy has effectively improved our team each year of his tenure by following the plan he laid out to us as his vision when we hired him as general manager and Sashi has been instrumental in making us a leader in analytics, research and player engagement while efficiently streamlining operations across all of our basketball teams and venues,” Ted Leonsis explained. “Their combined efforts have put us in a position to compete now with an exciting and hard-working team while also having the flexibility to execute our long-term strategy of building a championship program that is a leader in the community.”
“I reached out right away,” head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said about congratulating Sheppard and Brown. “This morning we had a Zoom right after our coaches meeting just to lay it out organizationally and I thought it was great. When I first got hired, I was told, ‘it’s just a matter of time to work out the numbers and get it straight.’ I took it as a foregone conclusion so to have it finalized and done is terrific for the organization. They’ve been on this path, set things up for the past two seasons so I think we’re right where we need to be as far as the process of what we’re going through. They’ve done an unbelievable job, organizing things, getting a staff in place beyond just the coaching staff and player development. So I’m really happy things are put to bed and those guys will be locked in for a while.”
Sheppard continues to be responsible for all basketball decisions for the Wizards, the G League’s Capital City Go-Go, and even the NBA 2K League’s Wizards District Gaming. Brown will lead various operations for the Wizards, Mystics, and Go-Go, including research & information systems, technology, equipment, team communications, finance, facilities, security and player engagement and will also oversee Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s venue operations. Chief of Athlete Care & Performance Daniel Medina and his staff as well as Mystics Head Coach/General Manager Mike Thibault (who have both also received contract extensions) will now report to Brown (who will work alongside Vice Chairman and Partner, Monumental Sports & Entertainment Managing Partner, Washington Mystics Sheila Johnson) with Thibault continuing to be responsible for all Mystics basketball decisions.
Despite inheriting a poor hand from his predecessor Ernie Grunfeld, Sheppard has worked miracles in less than three years since taking over as the head of Monumental Basketball in the Summer of 2019 after sweating out the noise about Tim Connelly and Masai Ujiri. Sheppard has put the perfect complementary depth (and head coach) around Bradley Beal for the first time in his career that will go a long way for the Wizards team’s success and the likelihood of Beal keeping his talents this upcoming summer in free agency where he could test the unrestricted life.
“I am honored to represent this organization and tremendously grateful for the opportunity to continue building this team in order to use what we accomplish both on and off the court to uplift the community,” Sheppard thanked. “Our staff, and their dedication to working together, has been essential to our success, and we will continue to work hard, follow our plan and make our fans proud of the team we put on the floor.”
Brown has been responsible for creating and overseeing shared services for the operational and athlete services catering to the Wizards, Mystics, Go-Go and Wizards District Gaming under Monumental Basketball since joining the organization. Highlights of his tenure include the creation of a robust research department (led by Dr. Katherine Evans, the first woman to head the research or analytics department of an NBA franchise), the renovation of the MedStar Health Performance Center (the training facility for all of Monumental Basketball’s teams and the only facility to house an NBA, WNBA, and G-League franchise under one roof) and leading social justice efforts for the players and organization in the summer of 2019 and beyond.
“Working collaboratively, strategically and efficiently has been key to elevating the operations of all of the teams within Monumental Basketball, which in turn allows to provide a higher level of care and commitment to our athletes,” Brown shared. “We are focused on creating competitive advantages and moving closer to our shared goal of bringing home championships to our great fans.”