The Wizards have four retired numbers: Earl Monroe (No. 10), Elvin Hayes (No. 11), Gus Johnson (No. 25) and Wes Unseld (No. 41).
The Wizards will add a fifth jersey to the rafters at Capital One Arena this season, as on Thursday the team announced Phil Chenier’s No. 45 uniform will be retired this season.
The ceremony will take place on March 23 when the Wizards host the Denver Nuggets. Chenier, 66, played nine years for the team and then spent 30 years as a broadcaster for Home Team Sports and CSN.
The Wizards informed Chenier of the honor during what was set up to look like an ordinary Q&A with Bradley Beal:
Chenier made three All-Star games and an All-NBA second team while playing for the Baltimore/Capital/Washington Bullets. He played on Washington’s 1978 championship team, though injury ended his season well before the playoffs.
If Johnson had his number retired, why not Chenier, too? Chenier added to his case by becoming a beloved broadcaster in and around D.C.
Teams should be wary of retiring numbers just because someone exceeds the least-accomplished player with his number already retired. That’s a quick recipe to stuffing the rafters with unworthy numbers.
But the Wizards needn’t worry about that. The franchise has won multiple playoff series in a season only once without Chenier on the roster and never after his retirement. Washington has only minimal history to be proud of, so honoring someone integral to most of its success makes sense.