|History|| Chicago Packers |
|Team Colors||Blue, White, Gold, and Black|
|Head Coach||Eddie Jordan|
|Conference Titles||4 (1971, 1975, 1978, 1979)|
|Division Titles||7 (1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1979)|
- International Amphitheatre (1961-1962)
- Chicago Coliseum (1962-1963)
- Baltimore Civic Center (later the Baltimore Arena, now 1st Mariner Arena) (1963-1973)
- USAir Arena (originally Capital Center) (1973-1997)
- Verizon Center (formerly MCI Center) (1997-present)
Franchise history 編輯
The team now known as the Wizards started as the Chicago Packers in the 1961-62 season. The next season, they changed their name to the Zephyrs. And the season after that, they moved to Baltimore, Maryland and became the Baltimore Bullets, no relation to the 1940s Bullets franchise.
The Late 1960's And 1970's 編輯
In 1968 the Bullets got two future Hall of Famers: Earl Monroe and Wes Unseld. The team improved dramatically, from 36 wins the previous season to 57 in the 1968-69 season, and Unseld received both the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards. The Bullets made the playoffs with high expectations to go further, but they went back down to earth as they were eliminated by the New York Knicks that season in the first round. The next season the two teams met again in the first round, and although this one went to 7 games, the Knicks barely advanced to the next round.
In the 1970-71 season, the 42-40 Bullets again met the Knicks, this time though in the Eastern Conference Finals. With the Knicks team captain Willis Reed injured in the finals, the injury-free Bullets took advantage of his abscence, and in Game 7 at New York's Madison Square Garden, the Bullets' Gus Johnson made a critical basket late in the game to lift the Bullets over the Knicks 93-91 and advance to their first NBA Finals in franchise history. They were swept in four games by the powerful Milwaukee Bucks.
Even when Monroe was traded, the Bullets remained a playoff contender throughout the 1970s. Ironically, they would face the Knicks with Monroe in the 1973 NBA Playoffs, but the Bullets did not have a chance as they were beaten by the Knicks who went on to win an NBA Championship that year.1973, the team moved to Landover, Maryland and became the Capitol Bullets, and they changed their name to the Washington Bullets the next season. During the transition, the Bullets also played home games at Cole Field House, the home of the University of Maryland Terrapins, while waiting for the completion of their new arena in Landover: the Capital Centre (later known as the USAir/US Airways Arena). Through the mid-1990s, the Bullets still played a few games per season in Baltimore.
The 60-22 Bullets made it back to the 1975 NBA Finals as the heavy favorites to capture the NBA Championship, but were shockingly swept by the Rick Barry-led Golden State Warriors in 4 games. They lost game 4 at the Capital Center.
The Miracle 1977-78 Season 編輯
Although they had future hall of famers Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld on the team, The Bullets finished the season 44-38 and were a longshot to win the NBA Championship, but coach Dick Motta used the famed phrase "It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings!" This became the rallying cry for the Bullets as they finished a playoff run that led to the NBA Finals, defeating the Seattle Supersonics in 7 games to bring a professional sports championship to Washington D.C. for the first time in 36 years. Washington would make the finals again in 1978-79, but this time would lose to Seattle in 5 games.
The 1980's 編輯
With Hayes and Unseld gone, the team was now lead by Greg Ballard and Jeff Ruland. But though they were a team with no pure superstars, the 1981-82 Bullets surprised the NBA with a 43-39 record and made it back to the NBA Playoffs. Gene Shue was named NBA Coach of the Year for his surprising Bullets. The team would lose in the NBA Playoffs to the Boston Celtics.
In the 1985-86 season, the Bullets got a big man named Manute Bol, whose specialty was blocking shots. That year, he blocked 397 balls (a Bullets record), part of a team that blocked 716 balls (a Bullets team record). But the Bullets finished with a disappointing 39-43 record, and were eliminated by the 76ers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
The Name Change 編輯
On May 15, 1997, the Bullets---for many years the league's worst seller of team paraphernalia---officially unveiled their new name and logo. They had officially changed it because the name Bullets carried a violent overtone (Washington, D.C. regularly ranks at or near the top US murder cities per capita). The names Dragons, Seadogs, Express, Mustangs, and Monuments were also considered but rejected. Dragons was rejected because of KKK overtonesnhjghjghjghjghjghjghjghjghjghj, but ironically Wizards was not rejected for the same reason. The team changed the color scheme from the traditional red, white and blue to blue, black & bronze, the same colors as the Washington Capitals, a team also owned by Abe Pollin. That same year the Wizards moved to the then MCI Center, now called Verizon Center, located at 601 F Street in Northwest Washington, D.C. in Chinatown. The Verizon Center is also home to the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League, the Washington Mystics of the WNBA and Georgetown Hoyas men's college basketball.
Michael Jordan 編輯
In September 2001, Michael Jordan came out of retirement at age 38 to play basketball for the Washington Wizards, who went 19-63 the previous season. Jordan stated that he was returning “for the love of the game.” Before the All-Star break, Jordan was only one of two players to average more than 25 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds as he led the Wizards to a 26-21 record. Cleveland Cavaliers’ head coach John Lucas even insisted that Jordan was the league’s first-half MVP, saying, “He’s doing it with smarts and not the same talent he had…What he’s done this year is off the charts…Our league [has] the best 300 players in the world, and the best one is 39 (years old).” Moreover, Jordan was helping the Wizards win in spectacular fashion, hitting game-winning buzzer beaters against the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Phoenix Suns. Unfortunately, after the all-star break, Jordan’s knee could not handle the workload of a full-season as he ended the season on the injured list, and the Wizards concluded the season with a 37-45 record. Still, Jordan had led the Wizards to an 18-win improvement from the previous season.
Jordan announced he would return for the 2002-2003 season, and this time he was determined to be equipped with reinforcements, as he traded for All-Star Jerry Stackhouse and signed budding star Larry Hughes. Jordan even accepted a sixth-man role on the bench in order for his knee to survive the rigors of an 82-game season. However, a combination of numerous team injuries and uninspired play led to Jordan’s return to the starting lineup, where he tried to rebound the franchise from its early-season struggles. The move led to mixed results, as several of Jordan’s younger teammates complained about playing in Jordan’s shadow and his unfair expectations of them. By the end of the season, the Wizards finished with a 37-45 record once again. Jordan ended the season as the only Wizard to play in all 82 games, as he averaged 20.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.5 steals in an astounding 37.0 minutes per game.
After the season, Wizards’ majority owner Abe Pollin discarded Jordan as part-owner and team president, much to the shock of teammates, associates, and the public. Without Jordan in the fold the following year, the Washington Wizards were not expected to win, and they didn’t. Despite the signing of All-Star point guard Gilbert Arenas, the team stumbled to a 25-57 record in the 2003-2004 season.
Jordan’s stint with the Washington Wizards was closely watched by both fans and the media. While the team failed to qualify for the playoffs in either of Jordan’s two seasons as a player, the team was competitive and sold out arenas around the league. Everyone watched the Wizards to see if Jordan was still the same player he was with the Chicago Bulls, and at times he was. However, at other times, it was clear that father time had caught up with him.
Critics of Jordan's tenure note that the team may have been better off receiving high draft choices like Yao Ming and Lebron James rather than being below mediocre and simply receiving late lottery 1st round picks every season. Critics also note that Jordan was responsible for drafting Kwame Brown with the number 1 pick in 2001, possibly the biggest bust in NBA history. Lastly, many of Jordan's "teammates'" complaints resonated - it was alleged that Jordan did things like bench Larry Hughes when he would not pass to Jordan enough. Either which way, it seems clear that the Wizards are better off with the Ernie Grunfeld/Eddie Jordan management team than Michael Jordan / Doug Collins.
Recent Resurgence 編輯
The 2004-2005 season saw the team post its finest regular season record in 26 years (45-37) and marked the first time the franchise had ever made the playoffs as the Wizards. During the regular season, the scoring trio of Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Larry Hughes was the highest scoring trio in the NBA and earned the nickname of "The Big Three." Hughes also lead the NBA in steals with 2.89 steals per game. Arenas and Jamsion were both named to the 2005 Eastern Conference All-Star team, marking the first time Washington had two players in the All-Star game since Jeff Malone and Moses Malone represented the Bullets in the 1987 All-Star Game.
With a 93-82 win over the Chicago Bulls on April 13th, 2005, the Wizards clinched a playoff spot for the first time in eight years , with the last time the team had made the postseason was in 1996-1997, when it was still known as the Bullets. Long suffering fans celebrated by buying over 16,000 playoff tickets in two and a half hours the day tickets went on sale . In Game 3 of the first round against the Chicago Bulls, the Wizards won their first playoff game since 1988. In the Wizards Game 5 victory in Chicago, Gilbert Arenas hit a buzzer-beater to win the game  and the Wizards took their first lead in a playoff series since 1986. In Game 6 at the MCI Center, the Wizards won their first playoff series in 23 years, defeating the Chicago Bulls 94-91 and becoming only the 12th team in NBA history to win a playoff series after being down 0-2.
In the second round, the Wizards were swept by the Miami Heat, the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference in the 2004-05 NBA Playoffs.
The 2005-2006 season was one filled with ups and downs. The beginning of the season was marred with talk that the loss of Larry Hughes to the Cleveland Cavs would greatly impact the team. Yet during the regular season, the Wizards again had the best scoring trio in the NBA, this time consisting of Arenas, Jamison and Caron Butler as the "Big Three." The Wizards started the 2005-2006 season at 5-1, but went on a 8-17 funk to go to 13-18 through 31 games. Then, they went 13-5 in the next 18 games. On April 5th, 2006, the team was 39-35 and looking to close in on the 45 win mark achieved the previous year, yet Caron Butler suffered a thumb sprain and the Wizards lost all five games without him. Caron returned and the team pulled out their final three games, against the Pistons, Cavs and Bucks, all playoff bound teams, to finish the year at 42-40 and clinch the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference. They averaged 101.7 points a game, 3rd in the NBA and tops in the East and clinched a playoff berth for the second year in a row for the first time since 1987.
Their first round match up with the Cleveland Cavaliers was widely seen as the most evenly matched series in the 2006 NBA Playoffs. The teams exchanged wins during the first two games in Cleveland, with Game 2 highlighted by the Wizards keeping Lebron James to 7-25 from the floor and Brendan Haywood giving James a hard foul in the first quarter that many cited as the key to shaking up the rest of Lebron's game. In Game 3 at the Verizon Center, Lebron James hit a 4-footer on the way down with 5.7 seconds left to take the game and the series lead for the Cavs with a 97-96 win. Many Wizards fans, including coach Eddie Jordan and members of the team, believed that James was traveling when he hit this shot. Arenas missed a potential game winning 3-pointer on the other end to seal the win for the Cavs. Game 4 saw the Wizards heat up again, as Gilbert Arenas scored 20 in the fourth quarter after claiming he changed his jersey, shorts, shoes and tights in the locker room and the Wizards won 106-96. Yet in Game 5 & 6, the Cavs would take control of the series, both games decided by one point in overtime. In Game 5, despite the Wizards being down 107-100 with 1:18 to play, the team drove back and eventually tied the game on Caron Butler's layup with 7.5 seconds remaining to send the game to OT, where Lebron James would tip-toe along the baseline to score with 0.9 seconds left in overtime to send the Cavs to a 121-120 win. The series came back to the Verizon Center for Game 6, where the game went back and forth all night. The Wizards blew a 14-point first-quarter lead, then for 24 minutes, from early in the second quarter to early in the fourth, neither team led by more than five points at any time. The Wizards blew a seven point lead with just under 5 to play and needed Arenas to hit a 31-footer at the end of regulation to take the game to overtime. Yet in OT, Arenas missed two key free throws after James taunted Arenas at the line, the Cavs rebounded the ball, went downcourt and Damon Jones hit a 17 foot baseline jumper with 4.8 seconds remaining to give the Cavs the lead for good. Caron Butler would miss a 3-pointer on the other end to seal the game, and the series, for the Cavaliers.
Players of note 編輯
Michael Jordan is certain to be inducted once he becomes eligible.
Not to be forgotten編輯
- Jerry Stackhouse
- Michael Adams
- Manute Bol
- Phil Chenier
- Bob Dandridge
- Juwan Howard
- Gus Johnson
- Michael Jordan
- Bernard King
- Kwame Brown
- Gheorghe Mureşan
- Robert Pack
- Brent Price
- Rod Strickland
- Rasheed Wallace
- Chris Webber
- Don Nelson
- Larry Hughes
- Tyler Madden
- Moses Malone
- Jeff Malone
- Rip Hamilton
- Courtney Alexander
- Mitch Richmond
- Ben Wallace
- Don MacLean
- Harvey Grant
- Ike Austin
- 11 - Elvin Hayes, F, 1972-81 (1972-73 Baltimore)
- 25 - Gus Johnson, F, 1963-72 (all in Baltimore)
- 41 - Wes Unseld, C, 1968-81 (1968-73 Baltimore); Head Coach, 1987-94
Most games are carried on Comcast SportsNet which is available in the Washington, D.C. area and other parts of the Mid-Atlantic states. Alternate local carriers include WDCW-TV and cable station NewsChannel 8. Wizards games are announced by Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier. Chick Hernandez serves as a sideline reporter for some broadcasts.
- They are the brother team to the WNBA's Washington Mystics.
- In 1991, the team would name Susan O'Malley as its president, the first female president of a franchise in the history of the NBA.