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The Washington Wizards are a professional basketball team in the National Basketball Association (the NBA). The Washington Wizards play in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference with four other teams: the Miami Heat, the Orlando Magic, the Atlanta Hawks and the Charlotte Hornets. Wizards tickets will surely be hard to come by during the 2014-2015 NBA schedule.
Washington Wizards 2014-2015 Outlook
Nobody will be happier to see the preseason end than the Washington Wizards; if it had gone on any longer, they’d have run out of healthy bodies entirely.
With Martell Webster already on the shelf following his third back operation in four seasons, the injuries just kept coming.
Bradley Beal fractured his wrist, Glen Rice Jr. rolled his ankle, Kris Humphries ripped open his arm on the rim, requiring surgery to mend the gash. Even John Wall was limited with knee tendinitis.
If the collective swelling recedes and all the stitches hold, Washington can still make good on the lofty expectations it set last season. Forty-four wins got people believing in D.C., and now the Wizards face a world in which anything less than a top-four seed will constitute a disappointment.
Demands like that are as refreshing as they are daunting, especially for a franchise with so little success in its recent past. The Wizards aren’t totally out of the championship picture, but they’re still a notch below the East’s elite.
The Washington Wizards play their home games at the Verizon Center. The Verizon Center opened in 1997. In addition to hosting Washington Wizards NBA home games, the Verizon Center also hosts all of the home professional hockey games for the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League (the NHL), all of the home college basketball games for the Georgetown University Hoyas, and all of the home professional basketball games for the Washington Mystics of the Women’s National Basketball Association (the WNBA). The Verizon Center is located in Washington D.C.’s Chinatown district and has the nickname the “Phone Booth” because of its corporate sponsor – Verizon Communications. The Verizon Center holds a seating capacity of 20,173 devoted die-hard Washington Wizards fans. The Verizon Center has also played host to numerous memorable and historic concerts and special events during its short 11-year history, including the 2001 NBA All-Star Game, the 2002 and 2007 WNBA All-Star Games, NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament games, the 2005 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Men’s Basketball Tournament and several World Wrestling Entertainment events. The Verizon Center is also slated to host the 2009 Frozen Four Hockey Championship.
601 F Street
Washington, D.C. 20004
The Washington Wizards have played in 3 different cities and have had 6 different names during the course of the franchise’s 47 year history. In 1961, the Washington Wizards joined the ranks of the NBA as the Chicago Packers during the 1961-1962 season. During the 1962-1963 season, the team was known as the Chicago Zephyrs. Neither Chicago team had a winning record. The franchise moved east in 1963, playing as the Baltimore Bullets from that time through 1972-1973 season, and the team fared much better in its new home city. In 1968, the Baltimore Bullets acquired Earl Monroe and Wes Unseld – 2 future Hall of Famers. During the 1968-1969 season, the Baltimore Bullets won 57 games as Unseld was awarded both the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Awards. The New York Knicks swept the Baltimore Bullets in the 1st round of the playoffs, however, and the dreams of a 1st NBA Championship were shattered. After another successful 50-win season in 1969-1970, the New York Knicks once again defeated the Baltimore Bullets in the 1st round of the playoffs. Although the Baltimore Bullets performed poorly during the 1970-1971 regular season (winning only 42 games), the Baltimore Bullets avenged their previous playoff losses to the New York Knicks with a 4-3 series win in the Eastern Conference Finals. But the franchise would have to wait for its 1st NBA Championship once again, as the talented Milwaukee Bucks swept the Baltimore Bullets 4-0 in the NBA Finals. The following 2 years, the Baltimore Bullets would lose in the Eastern Conference semifinals to the New York Knicks yet again. In 1973, the team moved to Landover, Maryland and played as the Capital Bullets.
The following year, the franchise moved to Washington, D.C., for good, although the team periodically played games in Baltimore from time to time. In its first year in Washington, D.C., the Washington Bullets won 60 games and advanced to the NBA Finals after hard-fought series wins over the Buffalo Braves (in 7 games) and the defending champion Boston Celtics. The Washington Bullets were favored to win the NBA Championship, but Rick Barry led the Golden State Warriors to the surprising 4-game sweep over the Bullets. The Bullets recorded winning seasons the next 2 years, but failed to advance far in the NBA playoffs. The 1977-1978 turned into the “Miracle” season for the Washington Bullets. The team won only 44 games and was a long shot to even make it to the NBA Finals, but Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld proved the pundits wrong. Head Coach Dick Motta coined the team’s rallying cry – “The opera ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings” – and the Washington Bullets did the rest. The Washington Bullets marched through the 3 early rounds of the playoffs losing only 4 total games to the Atlanta Hawks, San Antonio Spurs and Philadelphia 76ers. In a memorable NBA Finals series, the Washington Bullets defeated the Seattle Supersonics in 7 games to capture the franchise’s first and only NBA Championship. The Washington Bullets made a repeat appearance in the NBA Finals in 1978-1979 after defeating the Atlanta Hawks in 7 games in the conference semifinals and the San Antonio Spurs in 7 games in the conference finals. However, the Seattle Supersonics avenged the previous year’s NBA Finals loss by defeating the Washington Bullets in only 5 games.
From 1979 through 2004 – a long 25-year stretch – the Washington Bullets advanced to the NBA playoffs only 8 times and advanced past the 1st round only once. The team even had 2 separate streaks of 8 years and 7 years, respectively, in which the team did not finish with a winning record or advance to the playoffs. Following the 1996-1997 season, because of the violent nature surrounding the team’s name, ownership decided to change the name of the team from the Washington Bullets to the Washington Wizards. In early 1999, the Washington Wizards hired Michael Jordan as its president of basketball operations, and within another year, Michael Jordan became a minority owner of the franchise. Michael Jordan also came out of retirement a 2nd time and played for the Washington Wizards during the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 seasons. Although his legs could not handle the full workload of a true NBA star anymore, he still posted decent numbers and was the only Washington Wizards player to play all 82 games during the 2002-2003 season. However, following the season, majority owner Abe Pollin fired Michael Jordan as team president and refused to re-issue Jordan’s minority ownership interest to him. The current Washington Wizards lineup only has 2 holdovers from the Jordan era – Etan Thomas and Brendan Haywood. New General Manager Ernie Grunfeld and Head Coach Eddie Jordan have retooled the team and reinvigorated the lineup with some young, spirited talent. In the 2004-2005 season, the Washington Wizards won 45 games (its highest win total in 26 years) as Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison were both named to the Eastern Conference All-Star (the 1st time that 2 players from a Washington Wizards team were named to the All-Star team in almost 20 years). The Washington Wizards also won its 1st playoff series in over 20 years with a 4-2 1st round series win over the Chicago Bulls. The Miami Heat swept the Washington Wizards 4-0 in the Eastern Conference semifinals, but the pieces were in place to make the Washington Wizards a playoff contender for years to come. During the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons, the Washington Wizards underachieved on the court, getting eliminated from the playoffs by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1st round of the playoffs each year.
The Washington Wizards have retired the following players’ numbers: Elvin Hayes’ #11; Earl “The Pearl” Monroe’s #10; Gus Johnson’s #25; and Wes Unseld’s #41.