Ten years of the Wizards


While we wonder whether our baseball team’s nickname will change (or if the team will stay in town over the long haul), perhaps it is fitting to note that it was ten years ago today that Abe Pollin announced the new name of Washington’s NBA team. After 33 seasons, owner Abe Pollin decided that he could no longer use Bullets as a nickname (The Post) because it of the violent overtones.

“Bullets has been a very important part of my life,” he said. “In fact, it has been more important than most people know. The Bullets came at a time in my life when I’d just lost a daughter. I was really not in life. The opportunity to buy the Baltimore Bullets brought me back into life. I won a world championship with it. I have a ring that says `Bullets’ and `Pollin’ on it.


I’m prepared to give that up. If I can maybe make a difference and save some lives, that’s more important than the history that will be lost. I finally decided if there was the possibility of making a difference with this antiviolence campaign, it’s more important than the nickname of a team.”

The announcement, which was determined in part by fan voting, but Pollin had been on board with Wizards from the start, which created skepticsm.

“I have a feeling they set it up to be Wizards by picking four [other] names that were lousy,” said Adam Smith, a Capitol Hill resident who works for the D.C. Council. But, Smith added, “if they win a world championship, no one will care what they are called.”

The five finalists had been Wizards, Dragons, Express, Stallions, and Sea Dogs — yes Sea Dogs, so Smith may have been on to something. Overall though, the name change was met with a shrug by many Washingtonians. The MCI Center was still nearly two years away from completion and teams other than the Redskins were pretty much just an afterthought — even more so than now.

By the way, the Wizards came back from 19 down to win by 12 over Minnesota (The Post) last night at the Phone Booth.

One thing though, if Bullets is such a negative name, how come Pollin does not mind selling throwbacks?

1 Comment so far

  1. Don (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2006 @ 12:38 pm

    I always thought it was amusing that they wanted to ditch “Bullets” because of the violent overtones in a city that had issues with violence…. then picked a name with racial implications for a team that plays in “Chocolate City,” as George Clinton once called it.

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