Surprisingly, folks in Washington agree on something: the "Wizards" namesake and blue-black-gold logo has to go.
Yes, that was a swipe at partisan politics and at Abe Pollin's (RIP) ludicrous effort to re-brand the team back in 1997. Was the name "Bullets" to blame for violence in the city? Almost certainly not, since it seems pretty evident that economic factors played a bigger role than a silly basketball mascot.
On Tuesday morning Washingtonians got at least part of their wish: a new Wizards uniform and logo. Pretty nice, right?
The uniforms may not say "Bullets" but they certainly harken back to the Wes Unseld days. The striped chest and simple, mechanical script look surprisingly similar to the old threads.
If the change was an attempt to appease aggravated Wizards fans, it also has the symbolic effect of bringing them closer to the last, and only, championship the franchise won—way back in 1978.
The young Wizards squad—including John Wall and Jordan Crawford, who modeled the jerseys for the live press conference—get closer to the fresh start they need to thrive, miles beyond the Gilbert Arenas fiasco, the numerous roster changes and uncertainty surrounding the sale of the franchise.
Of course, this also means fans will have to wait on a new team name for at least another couple years. But it's a good first step. A lot more goes into naming considerations than one might think, considering league approvals and the shared merchandising rights for NBA-branded apparel.
And no, I'm not bitter that they decided against the "Washington Monuments" re-brand I suggested at age 14. With the benefit of hindsight it was only slightly better than choosing a mascot that had nothing to do with the city of Washington, and was probably most closely identified with an MLS soccer team and the Klu Klux Klan. Considering the city's demographic makeup, it probably was not the most intelligent choice.
But it's time to move beyond the team's recent struggles, both stylistic and athletic, and appreciate the dawn of a new day in Washington. Jerseys are already available for sale on the team site (washingtonwizards.com), and the red, white and blue are back in the nation's capital.
The most powerful city on earth deserved nothing less.