The Washing Wizards are Washington D.C.’s NBA team. The team plays in the Eastern Conference Southeast Division from their home in the Capital One Arena in D.C.’s Chinatown neighborhood. This incredible team has appeared in four NBA finals, winning the championship in 1978. They’ve had 28 playoff appearances, won four conference titles, and 8 division titles. Their strongest winning season was a smashing 60-22 record and the franchise has seen several Rookie of the Year awards. The Washington Wizards make on-the-court magic every season!
The franchise was originally established in 1961 as the Chicago Packers, based out of Chicago Illinois. In 1963, the team relocated to Baltimore, Maryland and changed their name to the Baltimore Bullets. When the team moved to Washington DC in 1973, they changed their name to the Capital Bullets and then the Washington Bullets. The name stuck until 1997, when they rebranded themselves to the Washington Wizards.
About Capital One Arena
The Capital One Arena is Washington D.C.’s indoor arena located atop the Gallery Place rapid transit station. Many city analysts have pointed to the arena as a success and one of the driving forces behind the restoration of D.C.’s Chinatown neighborhood. The Arena has been the current home of the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the NHL’s Washington Capitals, and the NCAA’s Georgetown Hoyas since 1997.
It was considered a bold move to build the arena between 6th and 7th and F and G streets, since the neighborhood was suffering from urban decay. But during development of the Gallery Place Metro station in 1973, the District government bought the land with big dreams of redevelopment. Capital Landmark Associates was selected to develop the site, originally with a plan to use the land for a mixed-use complex including retail outlets, offices, apartments, and a hotel. But the project was canceled in 1992.
At this time, the original home of the Washington Wizards (then known as the Washington Bullets). They were formally playing from the USAir Arena in Landover, Maryland. But the arena experienced subpar attendance because of its inconvenient location for Washington and Baltimore residents. It also wasn’t up to the standards of other NBA and NHL venues. So Abe Pollin, the owner of both teams in 1993, made plans to move the teams to a new arena.
These plans led to a deal with Washington’s business leaders. They set out to build an arena at the Gallery Place site. Then with help from BET’s Robert Johnson and district funding, construction was underway.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held in October 1995. Then on December 2, 1997, the arena held its first event, a game between the Wizards and the Seattle SuperSonics, with President Bill Clinton in attendance.
Today, the arena is a big part of Washington D.C. with a capacity of 20,356 spectators in their basketball arrangement. The arena has also been home to Mike Tyson’s final fight vs Kevin McBride on June 11, 2005 as well as UFC Live’s famous Cruz vs Johnson bout on October 1, 2011. It also hosted the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournaments in first and second round events in 1998, 2002, 2008, and 2011. And the Capital One Arena also hosted two all star games; the 2001 NBA All-Star Game and the 2007 WNBA All-Star Game.
It’s clear that the Capital One Arena is one amazing arena in a great location.
Basketball Team Summary
In their long career, the Washington Wizards has been known under several different names, called 6 different arenas their home, and have had countless individual and franchise achievements.
This includes their winning season where they took the NBA finals in 1978, which was one of their four NBA finals. The team has also made 28 playoff appearances and won the conference titles in 1971, 1975, 1978, and 1979. The team has also claimed the division title 8 times in 1969, 1971-1975, 1979, and 2017. Their 1971-1975 streak ended with the team’s best season, which was a 60-22 record in 1975.
Some of their most standout players include Michael Jordan who played with the team during his second comeback. And you can’t forget Walt Bellamy, Terry Dischinger, Earl Monroe, and Wes Unseld who have all won Rookie of the Year awards. Speaking of Wes Unseld, he is the only player in franchise history to become the MVP (1969) and win the Finals MVP award (1978).
But few moments stand out more for Wizards fans than during the 2016-2017 season. The team had a rough 2-9 start, but was led by superstar John Wall to a fantastic season. John ended teh season with an average 23 points and 11 assists per game and was named to the All-NBA 3rd team.
Going into the playoffs, the Wizards relied on John Wall to push them. This led to a terrific battle between him and Isaiah Thomas in the playoffs. The Wizards were down by 1. But John Wall sunk a 3-point shot that saved the team from elimination.
Washington Wizards Achievements
The Washington Wizards are no strangers to awards and accolades. In their long existence in the NBA, they’ve had 17 big name players among their roster, including some who have made it to the NBA hal of Fame.
These Hall of Fame players include; Michael Jordan who played for the Wizards during his 2001-2003 return to the court, Wes Unseld who played for the franchise from 1968-1981, and Paul Pierce who played with the Wizards from 2014-2015 and has been inducted this year. Head Coach Bobby Leonard, who led the Wizards during their 1962-1964 seasons was also inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2014.
And let’s not forget the Franchise points scoring leaders, including active player Bradly Beal (13,303 career points) who is second only to Elvin Hayes (15,551 points). The Franchise has also had 16 players named on the NBA All-Rookie First Teams, including Terry Dischinger in 1963, Wes Unseld in 1969, Mitch Kupchak in 1977, John Wall in 2011, and Bradley Beal in 2013.