Washington Wizards HISTORY

Player info
Award Winners
Retired Numbers
Team info
Draft picks
Packers and Zephyrs
Season standings


Quick facts:

Founded:  1961   
Arena:    Verizon Center
Division Championships:           8 (69,71,72,73,74,75,79, 17)
Eastern Division championships:   1 (69)
Central Division championships:   5 (71,72,73,74,75)
Atlantic Division championships:  1 (79)
Southeast Division shampionships: 1 (17)
Eastern Conference championships: 4 (71,75,78,79)
NBA Titles:                       1 (1978)
Playoffs:                         29

First Expansion Team?:
There is some debate over what Chicago team is the NBA's first expansion team; is it the Packers or is it the Bulls? The Packers were the first new team the NBA had added since the merger in 1949, but there was no expansion draft. The Bulls on the other hand did have an expansion draft when they replaced the Packers/Zeyphyrs in 1966, but both teams paid an entrance or expansion fee when they joined the NBA.

Naming issues:
Perhaps no franchise in sports has had more name changes than the Wizards. The team began life in 1961 as the Chicago Packers. The name Packers was highly disliked by the fan base because it was the same name of the Chicago Bears fiercest rival the Green Bay Packers, so the next season the name was changed to Zephyrs.

The name remained the Zephyrs for only one season because the franchise left Chicago and relocated to Baltimore and became the Bullets. The Bullets name was chosen as a node to the original Bullets franchise who joined the BAA in its second season and won the league championship the same year.

In 1973 the team went under another rebranding as it moved from Maryland to the Washington D.C. area and became the Capitol Bullets. That name lasted only a season before they became the Washington Bullets.

The name Washington Bullets was the teams longest, though it will soon be overtaken by the Wizards name, and lasted from the 1974 season until the 1997 season.

In 1995 Bullets team owner Abe Polian announced his intent to rename the team. Bullets had taken on a negative overtone due to the high rate of homicides and shooting in the Nations Capitol, it also is likely that Polian changed the name because of the assassination of his good friend Yitzhak Rabin, who was the Israeli Prime Minister. Wizards originally faced some controversy because of the title given to high ranking KKK members, but that was soon laid to rest.

The team has been called the Wizards for nearly 20 season and currently there are no plans to change the name.

Golden Age of Bullets basketball:
The 1970s were a fantastic era for the Bullets. The team won 6 division titles, 4 Eastern Conference titles and their only NBA title during the decade. Nearly all of their franchise accolades came during a stretch from 1967 until 1982. In that period besides the afore mentioned team success, the franchise also seen its only MVP winner(Wes Unceld) and all but 5 of its end of season awards. Also, about half of their playoff appearances (13) and all but 4 of their playoff series wins came during this time.

Since 1982 the franchise and declined to the point of become a near constant bottom feeder. From 1982-2016 the franchise made the playoffs just 12 times and had a winning record only 10 times and never won more than 46 games in a season.

The Man in the Middle:
Wes Unseld anchored the Wizards for most of the 1970s. He is one of only a hand full of none Celtics to appear in 4 NBA finals with the same team.

Unseld was the Bullets center from 1968 until 1981 leading the team to 4 NBA finals and the franchises only NBA title in 1978. He was a 5 time NBA all-star, twice named to the all NBA team, and the only player in the modern NBA to win MVP and Rookie of the Year honors in the same season.

Following his playing career Unseld would even coach the Bullets for a few years in the late 80s and early 90s.

First Woman Presdident:
In 1991, at just 29 years old, the Washington Bullets appointed Susan O'Malley as their new president, making O'Malley the first female president of any American sports franchise.

The Bullets seen mild success under her reign which lasted from 1991 until 2007. She was key in the hiring of Michael Jordan as general manager, and in the name change of the franchise from Bullets to Wizards. Under her tenure the teams finances went from shaky to highly profitable. She helped mend the tarnish relationship with the city of Washington and fans. As a direct correlation the team seen the highest season ticket increase in NBA history.

His Airness:
In the early morning of September 11, 2001 national media and news outlets were abuzz with a sensational story, a story that would soon be buried behind horrific scenes of carnage and destruction. On that infamous Tuesday morning the NBA's greatest player was announcing he was coming out of retirement for the second time and would join the Washington Wizards.

Michael Jordan's return to the NBA was overshadowed by the largest terrorist attacks in history, but none the less a few weeks later Jordan officially announced his intent to return to the NBA.

Jordan, who had been the Wizards GM had previously drafted Kwame Brown #1 overall in that years draft and he wanted to make the Wizards competitive again. Jordan would fail to do so, as the team struggled both years with him on their roster and by 2003 he would retire for good and leave the Wizards organization.

Washington's Big 3:
Caron Butler, Gilber Arenas and Antwan Jamison would come together in Washington in the mid 2000s and would help change around one of the NBA's most struggling franchises. In 2005 the trio helped the Wizards win their first playoff series since 1982, a span of 23 seasons.

The trio was relatively short lived, only lasting 4 seasons before injuries and off the court issues lead to it being broken up. Jamison and Butler would be traded away and fade into role player roles, and Arenas would have a highly publicized incident involving firearms and would be sent to jail and while he eventually returned to the NBA, the man they called Agent Zero, was never the same player.

New Era:
In 2010 the Wizards got the #1 pick in the NBA draft for the 4th time in franchise history, and drafted Kentucky product John Wall. Wall would be the first Wildcat ever drafted #1 in the NBA draft, there has since been 2 others.

Wall struggled with injuries the first couple of years in the NBA but has since rebounded and has helped turn the Wizards around even making the playoffs a couple of times.

Earl "the Pearl" Monroe.

Elvin Hayes

78 Bullets

Tom McMillian had a less than remarkable career with. After his NBA days, he was elected to the House of Representatives from Maryland. At 6'11", he is the tallest Congressman ever.



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