Wizards Owner Sticking With Team Name After Fans Protest Change

Brendan Haywood Washington Wizards Dunk

Photo: SteadyBurn.net

When Ted Leonsis purchased the Washington Wizards in June he solicited suggestions from fans to improve their experience with the franchise. He received 4,000 emails and created a “to-do list” 101 items deep.Most of the items on the list were completed. Beer would be colder, pizza would be warmer, and so forth. Just a few items were still “in development” or “under consideration.”

But for days fans could only focus on one “under consideration” item: “No. 31, Change Wizards’ team name to Bullets.” The media soon picked up on the story. The Washington Post published an editorial on the issue, the talk radio airwaves dwelled on the subject for weeks, and Leonsis received “2,500 incredibly articulate, incredibly passionate e-mails” on the subject.

(In 1995, then-owner Abe Pollin decided he didn’t like the violent connotation of the name Bullets, so he ditched the classic Bullets insignia for the Wizard—an absurd logo with some controversy of its own).

Finally, Leonsis addressed the issue first hand. He appeared on local talk radio and said that while he did touch on the subject with his partners, there were no serious discussions:

“I mean, it’s a big effort, and it honestly takes no less than 25 months, and it’s millions and millions and millions of dollars.”

But he does want to change the team’s colours back to the red-white-and-blue Bullets colours. In part because his other team, the Washington Capitals, play in the same arena and don those very colours.

If he’s willing to alter the team colours, how much harder could it be to improve the name and logo, too.

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