UPDATE 11:09 AM: Leonsis further clarified his stance on a potential name-change on his blog (also courtesy of Mike Prada): “In regards to a name change of the team, we have a lot of work to do
right now on re-crafting the team itself, focusing on the draft, our
number 1 pick, free agency, selling season tickets, suites and club
seats, new interactive outreach programs, working with customers,
prospects and media, crafting a new organizational structure aimed at
maximizing our services to customers, working on making the Verizon
Center the best it can be for our community, and finding new and
improved ways to serving our communities of interest.
…With all of that going on understanding that to effectuate a name
change could take two to three years. This simply isn’t a priority for
us right now. We can’t change the name of the team for next season. It
is June and the new season starts in October. There will be no name
change. We can’t change the name. It is pretty simple.”
10:28 AM: ‘The Wizards’ is kind of a goofy team name, and at this point it serves as a constant reminder of the more disappointing years in franchise history. Rather than think of what the Big Three in D.C. did or could have been, the Wizards name reminds us of an aging Michael Jordan that couldn’t let go, Kwame Brown being Kwame Brown, and guns in the locker room. Pretty much all unicorns and rainbows.
The Wiz, behind new owner Ted Leonsis, a roster clearing, and the probable selection of the fantastic John Wall, is set for a clean slate. As such, many thought the team should revert to the name it held from 1974-1998: the Washington Bullets.
Leonsis thinks otherwise, but noted that a uniform change could be on the way in the future. From Mike Prada of Bullets Forever:
Ted’s not changing the name, saying he’s amazed that, of all the things
they need to do, it seems to him that many fans care about a name
change the most. He did say that, at some point, he would look into
changing the team uniforms back to “more traditional colors,” noting
that “it’s no secret I like red.”
So Wizards they shall be, and for the moment, still clad in blue, white, and gold. Maybe in a way, it’s a good thing; Leonsis has an opportunity to breathe new life into the Wizards brand, and drafting Wall would be a huge first step in accomplishing that feat. Reverting to the Bullets name would be running from the team’s recent history, while staying as the Wizards is confronting that history head-on.