Team Spotlight: Washington Wizards

Posted on February 04 2020

Based in Washington DC, the American professional basketball team, the Washington Wizards, compete in the NBA (National Basketball Association). They are a member of the Eastern Conference Southeast Division. In the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington DC, the team plays its home games at the Capital One Arena. Originally called the Chicago Packers, the team was established in 1961 and based in Chicago. They relocated to Baltimore, Maryland in 1963, but not before being renamed the Chicago Zephyrs. Once they did move to Baltimore, they were then referred to as the Baltimore Bullets. Talk about name changes!

After the Baltimore Bullets came into existence in 1973, the name was soon changed to the Washington Bullets, which reflected their move to the metropolitan area of Washington. They were rebranded as the Wizards in 1997.

Hey… What's in a name, after all?!

Team Spotlight: Washington Wizards

A Little Bit of History About the Washington Wizards

Use some of these factoids next time you're at a party…

Team history according to name:

  • Chicago Packers – 1961 to 1962
  • Chicago Zephyrs – 1962 to 1963
  • Baltimore Bullets – 1963 to 1973
  • Capital Bullets – 1973 to 1974
  • Washington Bullets – 1974 to 1997
  • Washington Wizards – 1997 to Present

What's in a Name? The nickname of this team originated over owner Abe Pollin’s frustration with “Bullets” and the violence associated with them. A contest was held to rename the team. Among the finalists were See Dogs, Stallions, Express, Dragons, and Wizards. It's a matter of history which one won out.


  • Capital Center – 1973 to 1993
  • US Airways Arena – 1994 to 1997
  • MCI Center – 1997 to 2006
  • Verizon Center – 2007 to 2017
  • Capital One Arena – 2018 to present

(Note: Chicago – The International Amphitheater was the arena from 1961 to 1962. The Chicago Coliseum was the arena from 1962 to 1963 1962. Baltimore –  The Baltimore Civic Center was the arena from 1963 to 1973.

Various Owners:

  • David Trager – from 1961 to 1964
  • Abe Pollin – from 1964 to 1999
  • Ted Leonsis and Abe Pollin – from 1999 to 2009
  • The Estate of Abe Pollin and Tells Leonsis – from 2009 to 2010
  • Ted Leonbsis – from 2010 to present

Numbers Retired by the Team:

  • Wes Unseld – number 41
  • Gus Johnson – number 25
  • Elvin Hayes – number 11
  • Earl "The Pearl" Monroe – number 10

Best Players In the Team's History

According to some sources, the best players in the history of the team are as follows:

  • Wes Unseld – In all of the franchise’s history, Unseld was undoubtedly the best player. In his rookie season, he won the NBA MVP.
  • Elvin Hayes – More than any other player and team history, Hayes owns of the most franchise records. He spent nine seasons as a Bullet and is a Hall of Famer.
  • Gus Johnson – In the 60s and the 70s, Johnson was a dominant force on the boards. His jersey has been retired.
  • Walt Bellamy – A member of the Chicago Packers, he had a sensational rookie year and is also a Hall of Famer.
  • Gilbert Arenas – It is thought that the Wizards’ post-millennium playoff contention lies greatly with Arenas. Sadly, his career was derailed thanks, in part, to off the court issues.

Hat Heaven carries numerous NBA team hats, including a cap representing the Washington Wizards. We also carry caps representing MLB, NHL, college teams and other variously themed hats. Before you shop anywhere else, check out our inventory.


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