Wizards

Wizards

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis and those at Monumental Sports and Entertainment had an important goal in mind when they set out to create the name and branding around their G-League franchise, set for the 2018-19 season.

They wanted something that would connect with the city of Washington and those who don't just live here, but are from here.

In their deliberations and research, one name continued to emerge with a nice ring to it: the Go-Go, a reference to a genre of music that was born and bred in Washington, D.C. decades ago.

It combines funk with R&B, is heavy on off-beat percussion and is often played late on weekend nights by local radio stations. 

The Wizards first went out and talked to Wizards fans, many of which suggested Go-Go as the name. Roger Mody, a co-owner of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, received the same suggestion from a good friend in a text. He showed the message to Leonsis who took it as another sign that Go-Go was a good idea.

Before settling on the name, the Wizards wanted to make sure those who live in and around Ward 8, where the Wizards are building a brand new practice facility that will be home to the G-League team, were down with the Go-Go name. 

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"It just was a name that we wanted to be respectful [with]. We went into the community and asked fans, asked people who would be our neighbors, did they think this was an appropriate homage to music that we kind of grew up with, music that we felt good about," Leonsis said.

 

The reaction was positive and that helped bolster a feeling Leonsis already had about the music itself. The Wizards have held go-go nights over the years and Leonsis has been impressed with the reaction from fans.

"The bongo sound, the percussion sound is very, very natural to our city," Leonsis said.

On Friday, Dec. 1, Capital City Go-Go became the official name of the Wizards' NBA G-League team, as Leonsis and D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser announced on Go-Go Night at Capital One Arena.

Any fan of go-go music can tell you that Chuck Brown is the 'Godfather of Go-Go.' He rose to fame in the 1960s and 70s and remained a local legend until his death in 2012.

Leonsis saw Brown's impact over the years in his music and his personality. The Wizards have been in contact with Brown's family throughout the team-naming process.

"I remember the first year I bought the Wizards and moved into the office here, looking out my window and just seeing Chuck walk the streets," Leonsis said. 

"He was just the coolest, just the coolest looking guy. I remember he had this great black hat on and the way he strode up the street, everyone running around him and giving him a handshake. It just feels right for us and I feel like the city will bond with it."

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Leonsis can speak to go-go's place in Washington, however, most of the Wizards players cannot, as none of them are from the city. Several shared their reaction to the name and their thoughts on go-go on Friday night after the announcement was made.

"I'm not a fan of go-go," guard Bradley Beal said. "I'm not from D.C. Some is all right. I listen to a few [songs]. My boy Quinn Cook used to put me in go-go all the time. It's some stuff I can listen to and some I just can't get down with. For the most part, I'm in D.C. now so I guess I have to adapt to it."

"I don't even know any of [the songs]," forward Markieff Morris said. "It's funny, but I'm rolling with it. D.C. is all about go-go, so it is what it is."

 

For those who aren't familiar with go-go, it may take some getting used to, like any new team name. For those who are familiar with go-go, the team will be a nice tribute to a pillar of D.C. culture.

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