When you walk into Capital One Arena and look to the rafters you'll see banners of all-time Washington Bullets players and a banner that commemorates the franchise's only NBA Championship from the 1977-78 season. While you're admiring the greatness, you slowly start to think about the transition the organization took from Bullets to the Wizards.
Why was the name abruptly changed from one that carried an NBA World Championship to the Wizards? And why change the patriotic color scheme of red white and blue to white blue and bronze?
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On November 4, 1995, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and close friend of then Wizards owner Abe Pollin, was assassinated at a Tel Aviv peace rally. Four days after his funeral, Pollin made the announcement that his team would no longer go by the name "Bullets," after 32 years of sporting the moniker.
"My friend was shot in the back by bullets,” Pollin said. “The name ‘Bullets’ is no longer appropriate for a sports team.”
On top of the gun violence that took a close friend away from Pollin, Washington D.C. was in the midst of a terrible reign of drug abuse and gang-affiliated gun violence in the 1990s, marking it as one of the most dangerous, and deadly cities in the country.
The process leading to the name "Wizards" wasn't as easy as some may think. In 1997 the team opened up 1-800 lines to the community and allowed them to vote on a number of possible names to replace Bullets.
The options included Sea Dogs, Dragons, Express, Stallions and Wizards.
The fans made the right choice.
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