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October 15, 2010

Back to The Past?

Joe Charlebois

Will bullets be flying in D.C. again? They very well may be. It has nothing to do with the fact that the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision in the District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) ruled that – in simplest terms – our Constitution allows for the ownership and possession of firearms for the use of self-defense.


Those who may not be “in the know” of professional basketball may not know that the Verizon Center has been the scene of flashing handguns from the Washington Wizard’s star Gilbert Arenas. The possession of such a weapon in a place such as the Verizon Center is illegal and downright stupid. He missed most of last season because of his actions, and he received community service, a fine and probation.


He did nothing to help the image of the NBA or its Washington franchise which has since been purchased by Washington Capitals and Mystics owner Ted Leonsis.


Mr. Leonsis, under his leadership of fan-friendly communication and as the Washington Wizards new owner, has issued a “List of 101 signs of visible change.”


This list was pared down from the thousands of fan suggestions that Mr. Leonsis received since purchasing the team from the Abe Pollin estate. Two of the suggestions include changing back to a red, white and blue color scheme (like the Capitals) and more interestingly reverting to the name the Bullets.


The history of the team has seen four different names. Originally they were the Chicago Zephyrs and Packers; then the Baltimore Bullets, and finally the Wizards under Abe Pollin. He changed the name of the franchise back in 1997 after two years of suggestions and marketing analysis to come up with a friendlier, more politically correct name. 


He came to this decision after years of increased crime and gun violence gripped the nation’s capital. The assassination of dear friend Yitzhak Rabin, who was then Prime Minister of Israel, was the final straw. Mr. Pollin finally had decided that now was the time to disarm “the Bullets” and introduce the Wizards.


The choice did not go over well with all. Although alliterative, the name “Wizards” to a predominantly black community, conjured up images of caped and masked Ku Klux Klan members.


The history of the Washington as the Bullets has tradition. They had greats like Earl Monroe, Wes Unseld, Elvin Hayes and Moses Malone. They won the championship in 1978.


They have no real history as the Wizards. They don’t perform magic on the court. Maybe a throwback to being fast and dangerous would help. Political correctness aside, Mr. Leonsis should make the change.


Who knows, if Mr. Leonsis does go back with tradition, who could resist a headline like “Bullets Flying Once Again Around D.C.?”


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