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Flip Saunders pays homage to Bullets past

Chatting at 11:30. See here.

There are plenty of reasons to like Flip Saunders, among them that he seems to have helped restore the Wizards to a state of competitiveness.

Here's another one: take a look at what he did to the Wizards' practice gym. Now, this isn't a new story, and I'm sure others have mentioned it, but I'm just getting to it now. In the old days, the practice gym--which is also used as the media room for things like NCAA basketball regionals and Frozen Fours--was just sort of barren, besides the exercise bikes and trainer tables. Now, it's decorated with some Bullets history.

"It'd be like walking into a house and there's no pictures or plants," Saunders said of the old look. "I wanted to make it homey, wanted them to know that this is our [house], wanted them to realize the tradition that's here, the players that have been here, to respect that tradition, understand that this team HAS won a championship."

Have the players noticed? I believe they have.

"It's significant," Caron Butler said. "I thought that was great....It's motivation. Antawn, Gilbert and myself, we want to see our own names up there one day."

But that's not all! There are also life-sized Fatheads of all the Wizards hanging on the opposite wall.

See, when he was in Detroit, Saunders struck up a friendship with Fathead CEO Pat McInnis, who's from Flint. So Saunders ordered up customized Fatheads for each of his players.

(Sad news in all of this: there are close ties between Fathead and the Cleveland Cavaliers. That's not good.)

In fact, on the day Saunders accepted the Wizards job, McInnis sent him six Fatheads of himself. None of the Saunders models hang in the Wiz gym, though he said his son has one hanging at home.

You'll notice that Andray Blatche is wearing his old number, 32, in his Fathead, instead of the 7-Day-Dray model. That's right, these are '08-'09 photos.

So how, then, did they manage to get Fatheads of Mike Miller, Fab Oberto and Randy Foye? Special photo shoots. These guys think of everything.

The Gilbert Arenas model, meantime, is the one that's actually marketed by Fathead. When you go to Cavs games in Cleveland, the franchise affixes a visiting team Fathead in the visiting team locker room. This Gilbert model is the one you'll see there, on Tuesday night, for example.

"Just I think more than anything else, make it more of a [feeling] where that's OUR gym," Saunders said, summarizing his makeover. "We come in there, it's ours, and we feel good about it, feel at home."

By Dan Steinberg  |  November 3, 2009; 11:33 AM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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Next: DeAngelo Hall's W-L record isn't so great


Flip is looking like a better fit all the time. Some intensity tonight will go a long way...

Posted by: JohnnyBlades | November 3, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or does the Fathead version of DeShawn Stevenson have the uncanny ability to feel his face?

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | November 3, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

They should change their name back to the Bullets anyway. Wizards sucks.

Posted by: slim4 | November 3, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Ha! Feel his face...awesome!

Posted by: EYoung77 | November 3, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Thats pretty awesome. The Dominic Fathead is B.A. Barracus-head!

I can't wait until they parlay that Mike James expiring contract/fathead into something more compelling.

Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | November 3, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

please tell me there's a fathead of Paul Davis, possibly in a suit.

Posted by: claytonmedford | November 3, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Hail Big E & his down-low turnaround jumper. Hail Wes, Mr. Rebound! And Hail Phil C with his pcituresque jumper!
As a kid, those were fun times playing &trying to be those guys. :)

Posted by: Max231 | November 3, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Bring back the Bullets! At least go from teal to red uniforms.

Posted by: alex35332 | November 3, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

First step in bringin back the old bullets uniforms.... come on flip you can do it

Posted by: nford2 | November 3, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

PS basketball is not may favorite sport but I like what Flip is doing there with the posters and banners, just as a leadership thing I think that is the right move.

Posted by: alex35332 | November 3, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

They should change their name back to the Bullets anyway. Wizards sucks.

Posted by: slim4 | November 3, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Thank you. Somebody had to say it. I hate having to tell people I am a wizards fan - not even because of how bad they have been - but because of the name. What about the detroit dwarfs? Or the philadelphia elves? Nobody wants to be named after a dungeons and dragons character.

Sorry that had been building up, had to let it out.

Posted by: nick87 | November 3, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Boy, it is going to be awkward having to go in the gym after one of the guys gets traded or cut.

Posted by: Josh86 | November 3, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Definitely would be up for it. I have about three different versions of Nils Lofgren's "Bullets Fever". Anyone who wants it for free, shoot me an e-mail at (Not a solicitation just an old Bullets fan in the house)

Love the old Bullets uniforms. They would be cool today.

Greg Ballard forever!

Posted by: bbride1 | November 3, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

What, no Sam Cassell Fathead??

Posted by: disgruntledfan | November 3, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see him hang up "Almost Retired" jerseys of players whose jerseys will never be in the arena rafters but probably deserve some form of showcase:

Bernard King, Ruland and Mahorn, Moses Malone, Jeff Malone, Manute Bol, maybe Michael Adams.

Any other nominees?

Posted by: dshanoff | November 3, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

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