Posts Tagged ‘Wizards’

Irene Pollin says she would be ok with a change from Washington Wizards to Bullets

December 26, 2011

There have been rumblings the last few years for the Washington Wizards to change their name back to the Bullets. Owner Ted Leonsis has already changed the uniforms back to the familiar red, white, and blue the Bullets wore. However, Ted has consistently said he won’t contemplate a name change back to the Bullets. It was just two years ago that former owner Abe Pollin died, and Pollin changed the name to the Wizards in 1997 to be more politically correct.

But Pollin’s widow, Irene Pollin, recently told the Washington Post that she wouldn’t oppose a name change back to Bullets if that’s what the fans want. That opens the door a crack for a possible name change, although it wouldn’t be prudent to go overboard on this for fear of jinxing the possibility.

So this morning I revised and republished parts of an interview I did in 2010 with former Bullet Kevin Grevey, a starter on the 1978 NBA championship team. You can read the article here on Bleacher Report.Image

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Washington, D.C. is not just a Redskins town – it’s a great sports city

October 31, 2011

The Caps have been the most underachieving playoff team of all time in any major North American sport, yet the games are all sold out for the third year in a row. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

Washington, D.C. may not be the best sports town in the country, but it deserves a lot more credit than it usually gets.  In fact, D.C. is an excellent sports town that supports more teams in more sports than just about any city in the U.S.

The Washington Post, a marketing machine that bores its tentacles further and further into the belly of local radio, TV, and the internet all the time, recently had the gall to call D.C. a “mediocre” sports town.

Don’t pay attention to such drivel, though, because the writers behind the series for the most part, namely Dan Steinberg and Mike Wise, have only been in town for a few years, and they overlook many of the aspects of D.C. sports fandom that make D.C. sports fans unique. Virtually none of the columnists who criticize D.C. as a sports town, many of whom live off the reputation of the once great Post, hail from the area.

D.C. sports fans shouldn’t be judged on their teams’ lack of recent championships or blamed because people want to live here. Examine the loyalty of fans through good times and bad, and you’ll find that D.C. stacks up well with almost any major city.  Washington hasn’t won a major pro sports championship in 20 years other than the four Major League Soccer trophies DC United took home between 1996 and 2004.  Yet D.C. fans are remarkably passionate in supporting their teams.

How many cities have the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, plus major college basketball and football? Not many.  We have the Redskins, Wizards, Caps, Nats, D.C. United, Maryland and Georgetown basketball, Terps football, and a whole lot more. Given what we’ve had to cheer for, D.C. has turned out to be a great sports city.

To read the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

John Wall and Nick Young lead Washington Bullets over Utah Jazz 108-101

January 18, 2011

I’m going to start referring to the Washington Wizards as the Bullets on my blog, because the name never should have been changed.  I’ll continue to refer to the team as the Wizards on Examiner.com and Guysnation.com, but here on my blog they will be the Bullets.

John Wall had 19 points and a career high 15 assists, and Nick Young scored 22 of his 25 points in the second half to lead the Bullets to a 108-101 victory over the Utah Jazz Monday at Verizon Center.

The Bullets led almost the entire second half as their athleticism was enough to get by the discipline and defense of Utah. Washington raised its home record to 12-8 in front of an announced crowd of 14,925.  The Bullets are winless in 19 games on the road.

The Bullets pulled away from the Jazz in the third quarter during a 21-8 run.  Wall, the number one pick in the NBA draft last summer, threw an alley oop pass to Javale McGee who threw down a windmill dunk with his right hand.  McGee’s free throw gave Washington a 62-55 lead.

For the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

Should the Washington Wizards change their name back to the Bullets?

May 22, 2010

New Wizards owner Ted Leonsis hinted today in an article in the Washington Post that he would consider a uniform change for the Washington Wizards and was noncommittal about a possible name change.  Changing back to the red, white and blue uniforms is a no-brainer.  When Leonsis’ Caps went back to red white and blue (mostly red) uniforms, it coincided with the Caps’ resurgence in the standings and most importantly among fans.  The Nationals also play in red, white and blue uniforms.

Going back to the Bullets name would restore the franchise’s great tradition.  The Bullets won the NBA title in 1978 and appeared in the finals four times during the 1970s.  They had two of the greatest players of all-time in Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld.

When the late Abe Pollin changed the name in 1997 to Wizards, he did it because he said it wasn’t an appropriate name for a city that had suffered so much gun violence.  However, no one ever thought of the Bullets in that way.  Initially the meaning was “faster than a speeding Bullet.”

Rather than a ceremonial change, which did nothing to decrease gun violence in the city, the Wizards should go back to the Bullets, and ensure that a majority of the charity and community service work they do goes toward alleviating the problems that result in gun violence.  They could start by establishing an Abe Pollin community center where teens could play basketball.  In fact, build a few of them in some of the parts of the city that need them most.

In an article on Examiner.com, former Bullet Kevin Grevey, a starter on that Bullets championship team, said he would love the team to go back to the Bullets name.  Excerpts from the article are below:

“The name Bullets, once synonymous with winning, had become known for mediocrity, and finally futility in the previous decade. Merchandise sales were also near the bottom of the league. The team had gone away from its stars and stripes uniform to a plainer version in recent seasons.

Grevey, other ex-Bullets, and legions of fans disagreed vehemently with the name change.

“I don’t think there’s anything we can relate to in the name Wizards in Washington. Could you imagine them changing the name of the Redskins? It would be horrible,” Grevey said.

“Never once did I wear a Bullets uniform and feel embarrassed about it being used in a way other than players running down the floor speeding like a bullet. I think it was a stretch.

“But it was also a smart business decision, making the move to the arena almost like an expansion team. New coach, new players, new colors, new name, new city…so it was a windfall financially to change the name.”

The area around 7th and F Streets NW at the Verizon Center has been revitalized in the last decade. An area that once had abandoned buildings now is full with nightclubs, restaurants, and retailers, and Pollin financed the arena with $200 million of his own money. Pollin also gave back to the community through numerous charities.

Pollin died at the age of 85 in November 2009. Capitals owner and Wizards minority owner Ted Leonsis recently signed an agreement with the Pollin estate to purchase the remaining percentage of the team, and Leonsis should get control of the Wizards before the end of the NBA playoffs, and possibly as early as the end of May.

Whereas the Bullets name went from excellence in the ‘70s to mediocrity in the ‘80s and to futility in the ‘90s, the Wizards have now failed to make the playoffs in nine of their 13 seasons. The Big Three of Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, and Caron Butler helped the team to four straight playoff berths, but only made it past the first round once.

The Wizards name, logo, and colors never caught on in a big way, and Wizards merchandise does not rank among the top half of NBA teams. Meanwhile, retro versions of old Bullets uniforms have become huge sellers.

Would Grevey like the Wizards to someday change their name back to the Bullets?

“Of course I would. Everybody who played for the Bullets was disappointed to see the Bullets change the name. It was Abe Pollin’s team and he deserved to do whatever he wanted to, and he did it for an admirable reason because of the political correctness. I just wish they were called the Bullets.”

Leonsis recently took down the much criticized Washington Mystics “Attendance Champions” banners from the Verizon Center and has a well-deserved reputation for listening to fans. The Caps have become one of the most fan-friendly franchises in the NHL, and Leonsis answers all email from fans. Is it possible that Leonsis might change the name back to the Bullets someday?

“I hope he does,” said Grevey. “I think Ted will hear from the fans and I think a lot of fans would love to get back to the great history that we have.”

Click here to read Part 1 and Part 2 of the article about Kevin Grevey and the 1978 NBA champion Washington Bullets.

Will LeBron James sign with the Wizards? Is it such a crazy idea?

May 20, 2010

Ok, I don’t pretend to understand all the salary cap stuff, but is it so crazy to think LeBron James could end up in Washington? The main hurdle would seem to be for the Wizards to trade Gilbert Arenas and his huge salary.  I’m sure they’ll try to do that anyway now that they have the chance to draft John Wall.  LeBron would like to play with Wall according to recent buzz.

He wants to be known as a global icon, and while Washington isn’t New York and doesn’t have the international ties of the Nets’ new owner, it is an international city.  Also, with young players like Wall, JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche, and Nick Young, the Wizards are on the way up, though it’d be another year before they could compete for a title, even with LeBron.  The Wizards already have more talent than the Nets and the Knicks.  The Bulls clearly have the most talent of the teams that are being talked about.  But I don’t think LeBron would want to follow in MJ’s footsteps.

Also, could New York be too big for LeBron after growing up in Akron and playing in Cleveland? Would Washington be a nice compromise between Cleveland and New York?

Personally, I think he will stay in Cleveland, sign a three-year deal, win a title, and then move on so he gets the best of both worlds.

DC is definitely the place to be for sports stars, with Alex Ovechkin, John Wall, Steven Strasburg, and Donovan McNabb.

Nobody thought Reggie White would ever end up in Green Bay.  They had a lot of years between their glory days and their subsequent Super Bowls.  It has been a long time since the Bullets were great, but they do have a great history – you just have to go back a ways.

How about changing the team name back to the Washington Bullets and seeing James in a red, white, and blue uniform?

Former Washington Bullet Kevin Grevey on the ’78 NBA title season, Kentucky, and the Wizards

May 13, 2010

Kevin Grevey of the Washington Bullets shoots over former Kentucky teammate Rick Robey of the Boston Celtics.

Before the Redskins won their first Super Bowl, and before Maryland and Georgetown won national championships in college basketball, the Washington Bullets gave D.C. its first championship in 36 years when they won the NBA title in 1978.

Before the blue and bronze of the Washington Wizards, there was the red, white, and blue of the Washington Bullets. Local musician Nils Lofgren wrote a hit song, “Bullets Fever,”  that was played over and over during the spring of 1978 on Washington radio stations. The name Bullets was synonymous with winning, as they made the playoffs 18 times in 20 seasons in the ’70s and ’80s.

For the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.

Cavs trade Ilgauskas for Jamison and then get both of them? Not fair

April 8, 2010

I think it’s totally unfair that after the Cleveland Cavaliers traded Zydrunas Ilgauskas to the Washington Wizards for Antawn Jamison, the Cavs get both players.  The 7-foot Ilgauskas, whose name means “long” in Lithuanian, was bought out by the Wizards and then resigned with the Cavs.  It’s not right – the rich get richer.  So the Cavs trade a two-time all-star, Big Z, for another two-time all-star, Antawn Jamison, and then get Z back.  If the Cavs win it all I don’t think it will be an exaggeration to say the title will be tainted.

Wizards trade Jamison, complete housecleaning

February 22, 2010

The Washington Wizards completed their team makeover Wednesday by trading two-time all-star Antawn Jamison to the Cleveland Cavaliers for center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, the rights to Slovenian forward Emir Preldzic and a first-round draft selection from Cleveland.

The Wizards also receive forward Al Thornton from the Los Angeles Clippers, while forward Drew Gooden, acquired last week from the Dallas Mavericks in a seven-player trade, goes from Washington to L.A. The Cavs also get point guard Sebastian Telfair from the Clippers.

For the rest of the article, see http://www.examiner.com/x-37753-DC-Sports-Headlines-Examiner.

Washington, D.C. Sports Headlines Examiner – Examiner.com

February 6, 2010

I’m the new Washington, D.C. Sports Headlines Examiner for Examiner.com.  Basically, I write short articles about local sports events.  In a typical week, I might do an article on a Caps game, Wizards game, either Maryland or Georgetown basketball game, and a fourth miscellaneous item.  Right now I’ll do more Caps games because they’re doing so well.  And of course, in the spring, I’ll be doing some Nats and D.C. United games, and of course Redskins news as it comes in.

See http://www.examiner.com/x-37753-DC-Sports-Headlines-Examiner for my articles.  If you click on “subscribe” to the right of my name and then enter your email address, you’ll get email alerts whenever I do an article.  Subscribing is free, and in a typical week, I’ll probably do about four articles.  If you’re a local sports fan, it’s worth it just to find out what happened to the local teams, and just as important, to hear about any major breaking news.  A perfect example of this is former Redskin Russ Grimm making the Hall of Fame, which just happened today.  Also, I get paid per page click — each time one of my articles gets read.

Examiner.com is not affiliated with the Examiner newspapers. Examiner.com has reporters, or “Examiners” all over the country and emphasizes local news and sports.

As long as I’m promoting myself, I might as well cut and paste my bio here:

Mike Frandsen is a free-lance writer who has worked as a local sports reporter covering the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Orioles. Mike also teaches kids with autism (www.coachmike.net) and works as an advocate for kidney donor awareness. He blogs about subjects as varied as sports, autism, and kidney disease at www.mikefrandsen.org.

Thanks for reading.

Bullets Fever, Happens to Me Every Year, Bullets Fever, and this Year’s the One…

January 17, 2010

Somehow I started thinking about Nils Lofgren’s classic song “Bullets Fever,” which told the story of the Washington Bullets 1978 NBA championship.  I remember writing down all the words in pencil at the time, and I kept it for years and years.  I found it recently but it was all moldy so I had to throw it out.  (Poor Nils.  30 years in the E Street band playing alongside Bruce Springsteen and some of the songs he’s most known for are “Bullets Fever and the classic “Jhoon Rhee” commercial – jhoon-rhee-nobody-bothers-me-nobody-bothers-me-either.  Of course Nils is known as one of the best musicians in the band).

That year, 1978, was the first year I was a sports fan.  The Bullets won the NBA title.  Still waiting to get back there.  I’ve written in previous blogs that the Wizards should go back to their old name of the Bullets.  Of course, after the Gilbert Arenas fiasco, that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

About 15 years ago I was working as a traffic reporter.  There was this one station that wanted a female reporter to sing a different song every day before the traffic report. Actually, now I remember – it was WTEM, the sportsradio station and the show was the Tony Kornheiser show. I filled in for her one day and sang Bullets Fever.  That was the first and last time I sang on the radio.

Anyway, here are the words.  You can find the tune somewhere on the internet.  (Sorry, I can’t figure out how to space the text properly in WordPress.)

Bullets Fever!  Happens to me every year

Bullets Fever.  And this year’s the one

Bullets Fever. Got the Doctor and the Iceman

Bullets Fever.  Seattle was stunned

You’ve gotta be a fan from old DC

To know what the Bullets mean to me

To see them get up and go all the way

For me Bullets Fever is here to stay

Bullets Fever!  Happens to me every year

Bullets Fever.  And this year’s the one

Bullets Fever. Got the Doctor and the Iceman

Bullets Fever.  Seattle was stunned

C.J. and Larry, Greg, Joe and Mitch

Ran the Bomb Squad into a ditch

C.J. Tom and Larry are fast as light

Kevin, Bobby and Elvin they shoot out of sight

Aint it beautiful how Bobby D plays so great

With the Big E!

(inaudible) …we blew the Sonics out

Now all the world knows what our team’s about

Bullets Fever!  Happens to me every year

Bullets Fever.  And this year’s the one

Bullets Fever. Got the Doctor and the Iceman

Bullets Fever.  Seattle was stunned

With all his heart Wes fought the west

Now every Bullet wears a champion’s ring

They’ve got our town screaming and stompin’

They turn it into a family thing

Come on coach Motta

King of basketball chess

Come on now fans support them every test

Bullets Fever!  Happens to me every year

Bullets Fever.  And this year’s the one

Bullets Fever. Beat the best in the world

Bullets Fever.  Now we’re number one!

Bullets Fever.  Come on Bobby D

Bullets Fever.  Put in a swish for me

Bullets Fever.  Let’s see that turnaround, Mr. Hayes

Bullets Fever.  See your play is amazing

Bullets Fever.  Hey Dick and Bernie, we’re pulling for you

Bullets Fever.  Dreams come true

Number one, number one…