In 1997, The Washington Bullets became the Washington Wizards (though not directly due to the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, as many believe). Wizards, a corny nickname with no local significance, hasn’t really caught on among the city’s passionate basketball fans. But it won’t change back to Bullets for two main reasons:
1. Most fans have passively accepted Wizards as the team’s nickname.
2. Gilbert Arenas infamously brought a gun into the Wizards’ locker room, further connecting the team to the gun violence it was trying to disassociate itself from when it changed the nickname in the first place.
But Bullets still has a proud tradition, evoking memories of Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes. Many diehard fans want the team to switch back to Bullets.
Including John Wall.
Michael Lee of The Washington Post:
I’m just glad the Wizards have incorporated the old-school Bullets-style uniforms – red, white and blue with vertical stripes. If they can’t become the Bullets again – and the negative image probably prevents it – they can at least look the part.