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.
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