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Wizards break longest division title streak in North American pro sports by winning Southeast

Wizards break longest division title streak in North American pro sports by winning Southeast

With their win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night, the Washington Wizards accomplished something they hadn't since the days of disco. For the first time in 38 years, since the 1978-79 season, the Wizards can call themselves division champions.

The Wizards edged out the Hawks to win the Southeast Division and in doing so broke through the longest division title streak in all of North American professional sports. No team had gone longer without one in the NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL, WNBA or MLS.

The closest to their streak was the NHL's Edmonton Oilers, who now own the distinction at 30 years, having not won one since the 1986-87 season. The New York Islanders are just one year behind them with their last division title coming in 1987-88.

For the NFL, it's the Cleveland Browns who have waited the longest, 28 years since 1989. And in Major League Baseball it's the Pittsburgh Pirates, who haven't won since 1992, a span of 25 years.

The Wizards are not just having their best season since the 1970s in terms of division standings. Right now they are on pace to eclipse 50 wins. They have not done won more than 46 games since 1978-79.

In fact, the Wizards have the longest drought of 50 win seasons in the NBA. Here is the list, courtesy of Elias Sports:

Washington Wizards      1978-1979
Charlotte Hornets           1997-1998
Milwaukee Bucks           2000-2001
Philadelphia 76ers          2000-2001
Brooklyn Nets                2001-2002

The 1978-79 season was also the last time the Wizards advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. This year they have a chance to get there after losing in the second round twice in the last three years.

No D.C. major sports team (Wizards, Capitals, Redskins, Nationals) has made it to the semifinals of their league since the Capitals were swept in the Stanley Cup Finals following the 1997-98 season.

Could this be the year those other streaks fall? The Wizards already have major one down.

[RELATED: Wizards make uniform change for playoffs]

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A timeline of Tommy Sheppard's moves as interim Wizards GM

A timeline of Tommy Sheppard's moves as interim Wizards GM

The Wizards are naming Tommy Sheppard their permanent GM after he served in the role on an interim basis since April 2. 

Let's take a look back at the moves which earned Sheppard the long-term GM job:

April 2: The Wizards fire GM Ernie Grunfeld. Tommy Sheppard takes over the role on an interim basis. 

June 20: The Wizards select Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura with the No. 9 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Later in the evening, Washington acquires Jonathan Simmons and the draft rights to Tennessee forward Admiral Schofield from the Philadelphia 76ers. Simmons was placed on waivers on July 7.

July 5: The Wizards acquire Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones, and a 2022 second-round draft pick as part of the deal which sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers. 

July 6: The Wizards trade Dwight Howard to the Grizzlies in exchange for C.J. Miles and acquire Davis Bertans from the Spurs in a three-team deal with Brooklyn and San Antonio, sending the draft rights of Aaron White to the Nets. 

July 7: The Wizards re-sign center Thomas Bryant on a three-year deal and trade guard Tomas Satoransky to the Bulls for a 2020 second-round pick.

July 9: The Wizards sign guard Ish Smith to a two-year deal.

July 10: The Wizards sign guard Isaiah Thomas to a one-year deal. 

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Wizards to remove interim tag from Tommy Sheppard, making him permanent GM

Wizards to remove interim tag from Tommy Sheppard, making him permanent GM

The Wizards are naming Tommy Sheppard their permanent GM, NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes has confirmed. 

Sheppard had been serving as Washington's interim GM since the firing of Ernie Grunfeld on April 2. He oversaw the Wizards' 2019 NBA Draft selections of Rui Hachimura and Admiral Schofield, as well as their offseason transactions this summer. 

According to Hughes, the Wizards will announce the decision next week, with more changes to follow. 

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