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Leonsis clarifies uniform/name change possibilities

Take 973.....

Ted Leonsis just met with about 20 Post editors and reporters, and yet again the subject of uniform and/or name changes for the Washington Wizards came up. He seems utterly surprised and baffled that this is such a huge issue (with people like me), and he said yet again that

1) It's far too late for anything to be done for next year, and

2) He's amazed that, considering the Wizards's record the past two years, this is the issue he's getting the most media and fan questions about.

But because he clarified the issues a bit further from his comments on Thursday, I'll post one more time.

* He said that it would be possible to work in new colors or accentuate different colors in the team's own promotional materials even before any sort of official color change, but that the NBA likes two to three years of advance notice about formal changes.

* He said he won't make any decisions based on blog comments and a few hundred e-mails, but would try to feel out the people who matter most to the franchise: it's diehard fans, season-ticket holders and major sponsors.

"I the wisdom of crowds, but you've got to hang around with the right crowds," he said.

* He said a future name change was not off the table, but was years away, and that he would ask season-ticket holders how important this issue was in them "falling back in love with this team." He also said if that situation ever came up, he would talk to Irene Pollin before making any move whatsoever, and that he shares Abe Pollin's feelings about gun violence.

* He said there could be ways to de-emphasize the word "Wizards" in the uniforms and emphasize another word like "D.C." or "Washington," which would subjugate the word "Wizards" without actually changing the name. He pointed to the Phoenix Suns's new uniforms as an example.

* Above all, he said that he will take his time and do substantive research and discussion before making any decisions.

"Sequentially, it's not where my time and attention should be spent," he said. "That's all."

Leonsis also addressed these issues on his blog on Friday:

With all of that going on understanding that to effectuate a name change could take two to three years. This simply isn't a priority for us right now. We can't change the name of the team for next season. It is June and the new season starts in October. There will be no name change. We can't change the name. It is pretty simple.

We can change the colors more easily than the name. We will look into that as part of an overall brand uplift and updating project. That could happen as soon as the following season, but NOTHING new can happen next season. It is too late in the off season to have any changes at all. I am sorry but schedules and production of materials etc. are set years ahead of time.

That's all on this topic, until next week anyhow. The AP's Joseph White also tweeted some interesting game-day experience quotes from Leonsis, stolen here:

"I want to the get rid of the chants and stuff and put more emphasis on the game itself."

"There is no 'Unleash The Fury' for the Wizards," in the sense that there's no communal bonding/cheering moments like the Caps have developed.

More from Leonsis to come on Caps Insider.

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 11, 2010; 3:13 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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If he can't change anything for this year. I can think of a handful of throwbacks they could wear for home games all year long. Red/White/Blue Bullets, Orange Bullets, White Zephyrs

Posted by: EckertA | June 11, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

If the team starts winning and being successful, we'll forget about the name change. I don't care about the name really.

Posted by: thecomedian1 | June 11, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Ted, please get rid of the music and other noise that occurs WHILE THE GAME IS GOING ON.

Posted by: Cosmo06 | June 11, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Ted, please get rid of the music and other noise that occurs WHILE THE GAME IS IN PROGRESS.

Posted by: Cosmo06 | June 11, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Oops, hit twice. Sorry.

Posted by: Cosmo06 | June 11, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Has any team ever changed there name before? I know teams have relocated to other cities and changed names, but has anyone ever done this without moving?

Please Ted - change it back to Bullets.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | June 11, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

This is obviously a major PR mistake left from the Pollins that needs to be fixed if people are aggressively complaining about this at this rate. If its gonna take 2-3 years to change the name, put in the paper work NOW rather then later so we dont have to wait that long...
-1rst take a poll if the fans want a name change
-2nd have the fans vote on the name, Bullets or DC/American theme nicknames preferred only.
-After nickname is chosen have the Mystics go through the same process.
-Make Uniforms and theme based on old Bullets nostalgia, reaching hands logo, Hoops mascot ect
-Problem solved! its not rocket science

Posted by: MrWillie | June 11, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

He needs to poll the season ticket holders?
How long will that take...couple hours of calls in the afternoon? It seriously can't be any longer than that...there's probably more people commenting on these blog posts that season ticket holders.

Posted by: bacaje | June 11, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

It's not so much the name as the colors. Dark teal and copper is a flat-out hideous combination. I'd love to rep my hometown team out here in Cali, but every time I visit the Wizards' online store, I take one look at the merchandise and think, "gross."

Posted by: cali_snowboarder | June 11, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I sent Ted an email on this, and it does look like he at least took one of my ideas into consideration: "Washington" instead of "Wizards" on the uni's.

I also made a makeshift logo with the Baltimore Bullets old logo and sent it to him.

Here's the thing I don't think Ted understands yet: nobody likes the colors, nobody is proud of the name.

Even with Arenas throwing it down a few years back it's not like his jersey was lighting up the sales. Yes he made the All-Star team with a lot of votes country-wide, but outside of the!

The name "Bullets" had a proud/deep tradition. The "Wizards" tradition is just plain pathetic.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | June 11, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

"..Hoops mascot ect"

You know, I really miss Hoops! :)

Even when the Bullets werew stinking it up, there was good ole Hoops trying to get everyone to cheer it on. :)

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | June 11, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Oops, hit twice. Sorry

Kinda like the noise in the Verizon Center Huh..

Just kidding I do it all the time

Posted by: bossclifnpooh2 | June 11, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I think the Wizards should embrace the name, but go in a completely different direction with it. So instead of changing the colors to red, white, and blue, go with black and lizard green (i.e. Voldemort's colors), or black and blood red (i.e. Darth Maul). Enough pandering to kids and family-friendliness with embarrassing, hack promotions like G-Wiz, let's go dark, sinister, and intimidating--make the Phone Booth literally a scary place to play. Villains need a basketball team to root for too!

Unfortunately, David Stern (and probably Ted Leonsis) would never let this happen, but it could be totally fun . . .

Posted by: bucky_katt | June 11, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Leonsis doesn't recognize the degree of displeasure with the name, obviously.

Posted by: poguesmahone | June 11, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

This team and its fans will always be known as losers if this is what we constantly choose to focus on. leonsis main focus needs to be putting a competitive team on the floor. The freaking colors can be pink and green for all I care, WINNING IS WHAT MATTERS. Orlando is called the magic for christ sake. They win so nobody focuses on the name. Wasn't like we were lighting the world on fire as the bullets anyway.....

Posted by: zvick11 | June 11, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

My teams are the Redskins, Nats, and Wizards, and around the house I am surrounded by Redskins and Nats gear, I have never purchased anything (other than a ticket) with the name Wizards on it and I never will.

Bring back the Bullets!

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | June 11, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Funny that someone would say to end the "kid-friendliness" and them describe his color choices based on a children's book and science fiction movie.

Posted by: metatext | June 11, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

The name must be changed. "Wizards" is just flat ridiculous..

Posted by: wewintheylose | June 12, 2010 3:37 AM | Report abuse

It comes down to "is Ted superstitious?" The luck of the franchise hasn't been good at all under the two W's. What decent memory does any real fan have of that blue and white? Jordan ripping the ball of the backboard in what was probably his last fantastic display of athleticism? That was nice, yes. But worthy of keeping a name that has been hated since it's announcement and sullied over the past 13 years? Hardly.

And pointing to the Phoenix uniforms...ouch! Those things are hideous. So what if it says Washington in big letters, that's not the point. Nobody is complaining about "Suns", the name fits, makes sense, and the colors (and the hideousness of the uni's) are based in name-reality. But Wizards? Lame, lame, lame. Always has been, always will be.

Posted by: soloman5000 | June 12, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

the new name needs to be the "Capitols" with an O instead of an A.

Posted by: heathdog1119 | June 12, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I know Leonsis has to be politically correct about Pollin. He has to say all the nonsense about paying respect to his legacy, respecting what he built blah, blah, blah. Truth is, Pollin was a terrible owner. His record of futility is matched by very few others and the Wizards were a terribly run franchise. Leonsis should be doing everything in his power to CHANGE everything Pollin had in place about the Wizards with the stupid name being the first thing.

Posted by: poguesmahone | June 13, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

I definitely think they should deemphasize Wizards, leaving it off the jersey entirely and rebrand the jersey to look like the DC flag,,_D.C..svg

Then, whenever time permits, change the name to something unique about the area, not just something that starts with the letter W:

Washington Presidents,
Washington Federals,
Washington Senators,
Washington Constitution,
Washington Monuments

Posted by: dannyboyumd | June 13, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Agents...maybe?

Posted by: GerbShot | June 14, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I really like the Washington Sentinels (if it isn't copyrighted from the movie The Replacements)

Posted by: GerbShot | June 14, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Sorry last two...Washington Guards (as in National Guard or Honor Guuard of the Tomb of the Unknowns)

In honor of the military how 'bout the Washington Soldiers?

Posted by: GerbShot | June 14, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

"He pointed to the Phoenix Suns's new uniforms as an example."

Does that mean we'll be seeing "Los Wiz"?

Posted by: capsfan77 | June 14, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

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