Washington Wizards – The Start
Initially known as the Chicago Packers, the Washington Wizards started playing basketball in 1961. They emerged as the first modern expansion team in the history of the NBA. The following year the team changed their name to Zephyrs. After relocating to Baltimore, Maryland, they were renamed the Baltimore Bullets.
Before embarking upon the 1964-65 NBA season, the Washington Wizards (then Bullets) made a crucial change, adding Wali Jones and Bailey Howell to the lineup. The latter led the Bullets to the playoffs for the first time in the history of the franchise.
Towards the end of the 1960s, the team had two Hall of Famers in the making; one Earl Monroe and the other Wes Unseld. With the inclusion of such talented players, the performance of the Wizards improved significantly from a total of thirty six wins to fifty six. Unseld was honored with the ‘Rookie of the Year’ as well as the ‘Most Valuable Player’ awards.
With another talented player Elvis Hayes, the Wizards played the 77-78 NBA season and finished with a score record of 44-38. Although they were not the favorites to win the NBA Championship, the well-known journalist Dan Cook was quoted as saying ‘The Opera ain’t over till the fat lady sings.’ This phrase became popularly associated with the Wizards as they finished a playoff run leading to the NBA Finals by defeating the Seattle SuperSonics in a total of seven matches.
In the 1979 NBA Playoffs, the Wizards played a seven game series and had a 3-1 lead after four matches. They were eventually able to keep the Atlanta Hawks from winning the match series.
From Bullets to Wizards
In 1995, the owner of the Bullets, Abe Pollin decided to change the name of the team due to the negative and violent connotations that it carried. A contest was held to choose an appropriate name and the entries were narrowed down to the names Stallions, Sea Dogs, Dragons, Express and Wizards. Finally on May 15, 1997, the Bullets officially became the Washington Wizards.
Playing under various names and coaches, the well-known team has given some of the finest players to the game of basketball. Many former players have been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Among them are Wes Unseld, Dave Bing, Earl ‘The Pearl’ Monroe, Ralph Sampson and most recently Bernard King in 2013. The Basketball Hall of Star inductees o include Arnold ‘Red’ Auerbach and Horace ‘Bones’ McKinney.
The Clash of the Titans
As the Wizards gear up to play against its rivals, sports fans can certainly expect an exciting battle, one that will keep them at the edge of their seats. The Washington Wizards tickets like always are in high demand for the season this year as well. Having such tough rivals as the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz only adds to the enthusiasm of the fans.