Tue May 10 11:15am EDT
Reeling from criticism over the violent connotations behind the team's name, and the death of his friend and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin from an assassin's gun, the late Abe Pollin changed the name of his squad from the Washington Bullets to the Washington Wizards before the 1997-98 season.
It seemed like the fresh thing to do. Led by Chris Webber, Rod Strickland and Juwan Howard(notes), the then-Bullets had made their first playoff series in 11 years during 1996-97, they were set to be the Next Big Thing, and they even had a new arena to move into for '97-'98. But off-court troubles, even if they weren't deserved, got to Webber and Howard the next year. Gheorghe Mureşan was lost due to injury, and Strickland's motivation came and went. Webber was traded the following May, and the team didn't make the playoffs again until the 2004-05 season.
Also, everyone hated the team's new colors, logo and name.
Under new owner Ted Leonsis, the hate has been heard, and Washington has decided to change its colors back to a Bullet-y red, white, and blue pattern. They're keeping the team's name, and that weird-looking wizard in the Wizards' logo, but beyond that everything smacks of the old days. (Note: The road uniform is the red one above and the home jersey is the white one below)
When they weren't that good, either.
The Bullets went from this:
And now they're looking like this:
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