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Beginning as the Chicago Packers in 1961, the Washington Wizards have seen a lot of name changes over the years. They spent 10 seasons in Baltimore before eventually moving to Washington, under a new name: Capital Bullets in the 1973-74 season. The name didn’t last long as they finally became the Washington Bullets in 1974-75 but it wasn’t until May, 1997 that they officially became known as the Washington Wizards, their current name. Since their initial founding, the team has come a long way and have had players like the legendary Michael Jordon on their roster. With a whole army of loyal fans supporting them, it is no wonder that Washington Wizards tickets sell out like hot cakes.

About Washington Wizards

1961 – 62: The Early Days

In 1961, NBA decided to do a little bit of expansion in the league and put a $500,000 entry fee for new teams. The Packers were added to the mix in 1961 under this scheme. The team’s first roster was a rather unusual mix of players including aging fellows, college draft picks and so on. The best player they had at the time was Walt Bellamy. They began this season with a loss to the New York Knicks but soon grabbed their first victory against the St. Louis Hawks. The rest of the season was kind of mundane for the team except for records bagged by their star player Bellamy, two of which stood for more than three decades.

1962 – 63: New Name, Similar Results

The Packers became the Zephyrs but the new title did not bring much luck, as they finished last in the West again. However, the team got a few good picks in the 1963 season, adding Rod Thorn of West Virginia to the roster and Gus Johnson, the second-round pick, who soon went on to become one of the most sought-after players in the league. His style of slam dunks resembled today’s power forward position previously not that common in the game.

1963-67: More Name Changes and Better Times

In March, 1963, the franchise was renamed the Bullets after relocating to Baltimore. They finished this season fourth place in the Western Division, a noted improvement from their previous records. The team came under new ownership in 1964 as Abe and Irene Pollin purchased it. The next season saw some fresh new players making their way to the team roster, with additions such as Wally Jones, Bob Ferry, Bailey Howell, and Don Ohl. Thanks to these guys, the team’s performance improved substantially. Bellamy was still at the top of his game, scoring new records. But it wasn’t long before that Bellamy was traded with New York for Jim Barnes, Johnny Egan and Johnny Green. However, soon came another star – Earl “the Pearl” Monroe. And as if that wasn’t enough, they managed to hit another jackpot in the NBA Draft by landing the center, Wes Unseld. After the 13 seasons that Unseld played with the team, it was safe to say that they had turned into a force to be reckoned with. The 1968-69 season showed dramatic improvement in the team structure and performance and they truly became an Eastern Division powerhouse.

1968-69: Unseld and his Various Accolades

With rookie Unseld at the helm, the Bullets were literally firing all the right shots. He averaged 18.2 rebounds, the second highest total in franchise history. His outstanding performance was soon awarded as he was named NBA Most Valuable Player and the Rookie of the Year in the same season.

1969-71: The Highest-Scoring Lineup in Franchise History

The 1969-70 season was perhaps the best time for the franchise. This team became the top Bullets team in the history of the franchise, scoring 120.7 points per game and setting a record with a staggering 3,952 field goals. The duo of Unseld and Monroe were truly an unstoppable force. Even though the team faced a bit of a tough time in the 1970-71 season, their record was still sufficient enough to land them their first of five consecutive division titles. After little success in the regular season, the team really started performing in the playoffs and strode off into the NBA finals with relative ease.

1972-73: Losing the “Pearl

Three games into the 1971-72 season and Earl Monroe was traded with New York for Mike Riordan, Dave Stallworth and some cash. Even though the team faced some lack of direction issues with Earl out of the picture, the new guys brought in had their own individual amazing records. In addition to the fresh blood in the team’s lineup, three other players were at the top of their game in this season, Archie Clark, Unseld and Wilt Chamberlain. The 1972-73 season saw some improvement in performance as the new lineup began to take shape. Even though their performance was substantially better, the momentum was only enough to carry them into the playoffs. They were eventually knocked out by the formidable New York Knicks.

1973-74: Unseld’s Absence and its Effects

The 1973-74 season was a bit tough on the team. With a change in coach, there was trouble maintaining direction. On top of that, Unseld was missing long passes due to injuries, causing a serious effect on the team’s overall performance. Increasing injuries caused Unseld to only see action in 56 games.

1974-77: The High Ups and Downs

The 1974-75 season saw a huge improvement in the team’s performance. The 60-22 was the best in the team’s history and had them tied with Boston Celtics. Their winning streak continued under the new name Washington Bullets, as they went on to take their sixth division title. With their nearly unbeatable form in the regular season, one would expect things to go smoothly in the playoffs. However, they didn’t. They ended up losing four straight games to the younger Golden State Warriors’ squad. In the next season, the bullets improved slightly but still failed to win the Central Division.

1977-78: Spectacular Performances and the Glory that Followed

The 1977-78 season proved to be one of the most spectacular years for the team. Led by Dick Motta their new coach, the Bullets finally bagged the coveted NBA Championship after a very average performance in the regular season. After a thrilling season, the Bullets finally beat Seattle, 105-99 and claimed the NBA championship title along with all the glory that came with it.

1978-81: Sonics Show Some Strength

The Bullets continued to ride the success wave with their strong line consisting of Bob Dandridge, Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld. After a few ups and downs, the team finally gained some momentum by consecutively winning nine games. They struggled towards the end of the year and eventually lost to the Sonics in the 1979 NBA Finals. The downward spiral began merely two years after the team won the NBA title. For the next decade, the team struggled as they failed to go through to the postseason games. The aging stars Unseld and Hayes were finally beginning to dim a bit.

1981-85: Big Changes in the Lineup

Wes Unseld bid farewell to the game after the 1980-81 season. His career stats were as impressive as ever, with 10,624 points overall and an election to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988. Soon after his departure, Elvin Hayes was traded to Houston. Hayes was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1989. At this point, the team had no superstars and was relying on a set of hardworking team players. After a slight slump, the team finally began to gain some momentum. The 1982-83 season saw them end the year with a respectable 42-40 and a place in the Atlantic Division. The 1983-84 season was not such a good time for the team as they got eliminated in the playoffs by Boston. The next season was nearly the same as well.

1985-90: New Players and Improving Results

In the 1985 Draft, the team made an interesting selection, picking the Sudanese Manute Bol. Bol blew nearly every other franchise record out of the water in the 85-86 season. However, even with Bol on the team, the Bullets were still not impressive with the results with a 39-43 record. They made into the playoffs but lost to Philadelphia. The next season was a little better for them, as they finished 42-40. In 1987-88, the team added another new name to the roster, rookie Tyrone Bogues. Wes Unseld was soon made head coach. The next season, 1988-89 saw noted improvement as the Bullets finished 40-42 but missed the playoffs. The next five years saw one of the steepest declines in the performance of the Bullets. But the hope for better times was still alive.

1990-96: Team Rebuilt

After several disappointing runs, the 1994-95 season brought about big changes in the lineup for the team. Scott Skiles, and Juwan Howard were acquired and the lineup stood at: Tom Gugliotta and Don MaclLean (forwards), Rex Chapman and Skiles (guards) and Kevin Duckworth (center). But the biggest change came with the trading of Chris Webber into the team, from Golden State Warriors. But things didn’t go as well as planned for the Bullets, as injuries became a big hurdle in the team’s success. A total of 14 players missed 317 games, causing the Bullets to finish last in the Atlantic Division. The 1995 NBA Draft landed the team Rasheed Wallace. Their performance improved but not to an extent that would see them get back into the postseason. Injuries again became a problem for the team.

1996-97: Bullets Back in the Game

After going home with nothing for eight seasons, the Bullets finally got some luck as they ended up in the postseason. But even with a stellar lineup that included the league’s tallest players and two of the most in-shape forwards, the team barely managed. This eventually led to the impending dismissal of the head coach, Jim Lynam. The team soon took on a new approach, unveiling a new logo, new name – Washington Wizards, new uniforms and a new location.

1998-2001: A New Millennium

The Wizards still continued to struggle as the new millennium dawned. In the 2000-01 season, their 19 wins were the second-fewest in the franchise history – with the lowest being in their inaugural season in 1961-62. In February though, came a huge trade off that had everyone hoping for better times ahead. The exchange saw Wizards get Davis, Alexander, Laettner, Vaught and Thomas in return for 3 players of theirs along with $3 million.

2001-02: Michael Jordan Era

Michael Jordan led the team to an 18-game improvement in the standings and was potentially the reason for the record 41 home sellouts and 38 road sellouts. Add to that, the performance started improving a lot too.

2002-03: Farewell to Michael Jordan

In his final season as a Wizard, Jordan played in all 82 games. Even at the age of 40, this guy’s stamina baffled fans and critics alike. Even after Jordan’s departure, the team’s good performance continued with wins against Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks.

2004-08: Big Three Performing Big

Arenas, Antawn and Hughes became a trio of sorts for the team that took them to playoffs, a first for the Wizards since the 1996-97 season.

2010-Present: Good Times Rolling

The recent seasons have seen the Wizards back in good shape. The 2013-14 season saw the Wizards reach the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Wizards also returned to playoffs in the 2014-15 season but fell again, in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

And now, they are all set for the upcoming season. With such a long and illustrious history, this could be one legendary season. Get your Washington Wizards tickets soon.