WASHINGTON WIZARDS FRANCHISE HISTORY
Previous Franchise Names: Washington Bullets, Capital Bullets, Baltimore Bullets, Chicago Zephyrs, Chicago Packers
Best Season: 1974-75 (60-22, .732)
Playoff Appearances: 27
NBA Championships: 1 (1977-78)
It has been a frenetic existence for the franchise of many names, the Washington Wizards.
Since joining the NBA as the league’s first true expansion team in 1961, the franchise has operated as the Chicago Packers, Chicago Zephyrs, Baltimore Bullets, Capital Bullets, Washington Bullets and its current moniker, the Washington Wizards, which it adopted in 1997 in an effort by owner Abe Pollin to get away from the connotation of gun violence.
The franchise’s lone title came in 1977-78, when the Bullets emerged after a 44-38 regular season to run through the playoffs, culminated with a seven-game NBA Finals victory over the Seattle SuperSonics.
The Bullets were in Baltimore the first time they reached the Finals, another upset-filled playoff run in 1971 after going 42-40. That ended with a four-game sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Washington returned to the Finals in 1979, losing to Seattle in five games in the rematch.
Over the years, the franchise has been led by superstars such as Walt Bellamy, Earl Monroe, Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes. In 1968-69, Unseld became just the second player in NBA history to win Rookie of the Year and MVP honors in the same season, joining Wilt Chamberlain.
The franchise has 27 playoff appearances in 55 seasons, with only 15 of those coming since the championship season of 1977-78.
Gene Shue had two terms as coach of the Bullets, taking over the club 26 games into the 1966-67 season and remaining through the 1972-73 campaign. He returned in 1980-81 and remained until he was fired late in the 1985-86 season.
He had a record of 522-505 in those two stints and was 19-36 in the postseason.
Washington Wizards Career Leaders (as of 3/9/2016)
- Games, Wes Unseld, 984
- Points, Elvin Hayes, 15551
- Rebounds, Wes Unseld, 13769
- Assists, Wes Unseld, 3822
- Steals, Greg Ballard, 762
- Blocks, Elvin Hayes, 1558
Washington Wizards Retired Numbers
Washington Wizards Official Links
Washington Wizards Beat Writers
Related Washington Wizards Blogs and Links
Washington Wizards Logo History, courtesy of Chris Creamer’s Sportslogos.net
Salary Page: Washington Wizards Salaries at Spotrac
FanSided Washington Wizards: Wiz of Awes
SB Nation Washington Wizards: Bullets Forever
ESPN TrueHoop Washington Wizards: Truth About It
HoopsHabit Washington Wizards Archive: Washington Wizards
Bleacher Report Washington Wizards Team Stream: Washington Wizards
RealGM Washington Wizards Page: Washington Wizards
Stats and retired number information courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com and NBA.com