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Leonsis: No name change, likely color change

Second headline out of Ted Leonsis's I'm-buying-the-Wizards press conference came when NBC's Dan Hellie asked about possible name and/or color changes. Leonsis has talked about this briefly before, but these were Leonsis's most definite and comprehensive comments.

Sounds pretty clear that the name will not be changing, but the uniforms will, although not in the immediate future. His full remarks:

"In regards to name changes and the like, you know, I'm shocked that with all that we have to do, that that's been like the No. 1 question, e-mail, message board conversation. And so I intend to listen very, very carefully. But we have so much more to do.

"And so there will be no name change, and even if we wanted to change the name, you couldn't do that for years. It's not a secret that I am partial to red. And we're the nation's capital. And that won't come overnight, either. But I remember coming to Bullets games when I was a kid and a student at Georgetown: I thought those colors looked handsome. I think we all saw the change in the Capitals' uniform, and how that was galvanizing, and I think at some point it's not a secret that we would want to change and go back to more traditional colors.

And I think that'll be the needle that we all have to thread: Take the best of what was in the past and reinterpret it and re-imagine it so that it's relevant to today's consumer....The e-mails I get from people, [they] love the Wizards because Abe won a championship in 1978. That's their memory. And that's what's so striking about owning a sports team: that we can create indelible lifelong memories that unite communities, that fathers and sons talk about their whole lives, that people say I was there when...."

Two more great quotes, in terms of grabbing big free agents and winning quickly.

"I'm gonna ask you, the media, to be patient. And I know you can't be, but we're gonna do it the way we want to do it."

"Maybe 10 years ago I would have been firing up the jets [to lure free agents]...but I'm not interested in just making a news splash."

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 10, 2010; 1:55 PM ET
Categories:  Caps , Wizards  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Leonsis says it's time to re-embrace Gilbert Arenas
Next: Leonsis on Strasburg and the Nats

Comments

Does this mean that now, every major DC pro team will have a "red" component? (OK, fine, the 'skins are burgundy, but still . . . )

Posted by: ouij | June 10, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

No, i am not shocked this is the #1 demand of DC sports fan. The Wizards/Mystics nicknames are unacceptable and were a major PR mistake leftover from the Pollins. Either change the name back to Bullets or have a non rigged fan contest with a list of DC/American themed sports nicknames to choose from. This needs to happen. The Red,White and Blue is inevitable. Please listen to the fans Ted and i know you will.

Posted by: MrWillie | June 10, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

First of all, I think the red, white, and blue is kind of cliche. Sure, DC is the nation's capital, blah blah blah. But it seems like every other team uses this color scheme, from the Montreal Canadiens to the Buffalo Bills. Enough, already.

Secondly, why do we feel the need to have the same colors for all of our sports teams? Who are we, Pittsburgh?

I liked the orange Bullets throwbacks. How about embracing both the originality and the history by redesigning them like a new retro jersey, like the Caps jerseys were done. Use the orange scheme for a new Wizards design.

Posted by: JohninMpls | June 10, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

it seems obvious that everyone is still wondering why on earth they are called the wizards? someone just felt like alliteration was the best way to go?
this seems as good a time as any to get a legitimate new name...

Posted by: bacaje | June 10, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Wizards is an awful nickname. I cringe every time I hear it. It's literally embarassing. I don't care so much about the colors as I do the name, but I understand the difficulty in changing Abe's hand picked name when the guy just died. There has to be some respect paid, there. We just need to keep the heat on as fans so Ted has a good reason/excuse for the change. Maybe we can all petition Irene Pollin to give a name change her blessing. I don't know. But god I hate Wizards.

Posted by: DisgustedinArlington | June 10, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Changing the name from to Wizards was nothing more than politically correct stupidity. Change it back!

Posted by: JERRYB1 | June 10, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

So if, in fact, Leonsis has bought into the Wizards name, he is every bit as stupid as Pollin.

Posted by: poguesmahone | June 10, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Any name but the Wizard. Let's go back to Bullets the way it was meant to be.

Posted by: mofares | June 10, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Too bad Jagr already signed a contract in Russia. He'd be perfect for the Wiz.

Posted by: SuperG5 | June 10, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe 10 years ago I would have been firing up the jets..."

Sounds like a not so subtle poke at Dan Snyder. This may always be a Redskins town, but there is no question that Ted wants to be known as the better owner.

Posted by: TheOneWhoHurtsMost | June 10, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Sounds more like Leonsis is legally obligated to keep the Wiz, the Wiz. I can't imagine why else he would say "even if we wanted to change the name, we couldn't do that for years"

A change in colors and the logo will certainly be steps in the right direction. Perhaps when the Wiz start winning again, then he will look to changing the name.

Posted by: Liebercreep | June 10, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone ask him if he likes the name "Wizards"? Nobody else seems to -- it's strange he would be so tone deaf on this issue. I think the name is associated with nothing but bad memories/failures, so why keep it? Ted - Nobody "loves the Wizards" Perhaps there is some legal obligation written into his purchase. Wish a reporter would just ask hime straight up instead of all this speculation.

Posted by: dbunkr | June 10, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Changing the name to Wizards was nothing more than politically correct stupidity. Change it back!

Posted by: JERRYB1 | June 10, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I think the best name from the last go around on, "What should we name the team?" was the Washington Justice. Then, of course, they could play on the supreme court. Think of the marketing spin for that one.... Along with the Here Comes The Judge music for all the important game moments.

Posted by: shepDC | June 10, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Has any other pro sports team ever changed there name when not moving to another city? I cant think of any, although there might be a few. Either way - the Wizards is the worst nick name of any pro sports team. Change the name back to bullets and the colors back to red white and blue. Do the right thing Ted. i know you want to.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | June 10, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Please please please PLEASE, Mr. Leonsis, please change the name from the Wizards!!! I agree wholeheartedly with MrWillie, DisgustedinArlington, etc that the Wizards is just a bad moniker. As a DC native, I will never understand why the name Wizards was chosen, and I was too naive to appreciate the bad move when it happened (I was 21 so had many other things on my mind) but now understand that it simply doesn't work. I especially support MrWillie's suggestion that it should be a DC/American-themed name.

Posted by: mialvarez | June 10, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

He's not legally obligated to keep the name. But the NBA requires a long, long lead time to do it.
If he changes the colors to red, white and blue, five years from now, everyone will be saying it's cliche and that they should change the colors to something hip. Everything is a cycle.

Posted by: swinging4thefence | June 10, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

leonsis is an idiot if he doesnt change the name back

Posted by: slim4 | June 10, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

The Wizards seem to be wearing a different color every time I turn on a game anyway. Orange jerseys, brown jerseys, blue jerseys, red jerseys, black, white jerseys. Seriously, I've seen all these in the last 2 or 3 years. What exactly would a "color change" consist of? Maybe we can add purple, green, rainbow, and pink to the wardrobe.

Posted by: howellb1 | June 10, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

To me, they're still the Bullets.

Posted by: RichinVA | June 10, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

lol shepDC, you're obsessed with that "Supreme Court" thing. I like to imagine you sitting there smiling and thinking about how witty it is. I'm not being sarcastic at all, I think it's kinda charming.

Posted by: MarylanDChris | June 10, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

oh, and Wizards is the worst name? really? how about: "Utah Jazz" or "Los Angeles Lakers"?
is there any Jazz in Utah?
is there a lake anywhere near LA?

Posted by: swinging4thefence | June 10, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I've always found the name "Wizards" to be very amusing for a team located in a city with a majority-black population. Their uniforms ought to involve white cone-shaped hats!

With that said, I continue to think of them as the "Bullets" and I call them such. Their play since the name change hasn't exactly distinguished them from the late 1980s- and 1990s-era Bullets, after all.

Posted by: 1995hoo | June 10, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

was that a jab at Snyder!!!!!

"Maybe 10 years ago I would have been firing up the jets [to lure free agents]...but I'm not interested in just making a news splash."

come on Leonsis, buy the Redskins too.

Posted by: oknow1 | June 10, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Although I have never been enamored with the Wizards name, I don't think changing it at this time is a good idea. The area is just now finally getting used to it. Secondly, why do so many think of a KKK a-hole when they here the name instead of thinking of Merlin or some other magician? Until very recently that racist angle never even dawned on me and I am quite certain it never dawned on Abe either.

I agree with the other post about red white and blue. How about an original thought. If the colors are changed then go with something different and give the Wizards and Mystics their own brand. The Caitals and the Nationals already use the RWB scheme and it seems very cheesy to have every team in town with the same brand.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | June 10, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Has any other pro sports team ever changed there name when not moving to another city? I cant think of any, although there might be a few. Either way - the Wizards is the worst nick name of any pro sports team. Change the name back to bullets and the colors back to red white and blue. Do the right thing Ted. i know you want to.


Posted by: capsfansince74 | June 10, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

----------------

San Jose Clash -> Earthquakes
Dallas Burn -> FC Dallas
Kansas City Wiz -> Wizards (Interesting, huh?)

Granted the MLS was still very young when they made these changes, but these things can happen.

Posted by: M__N | June 10, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

There is nothing wrong with Washington Wizards... It's a way better name than Bullets... just cause the old schoolers are used to it, doesn't make it a good name or logo.

Here's what needs to change:

1. Get rid of the dopey wizard, Philly fanatic looking mascot

2. Change the colors to Red, white, & blue

3. Redesign the logo... I want the real wizard, the grey long bearded MEAN Wizard peering into the crystal ball with the electricity coming off of it. Could you see this in the Center of the Basketball Court, it would be very cool.

The problem with team is the color & logo, not the name.

Posted by: tony325 | June 10, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"Has any other pro sports team ever changed there name when not moving to another city? I cant think of any, although there might be a few."

Houston Colt .45s changed their name to the Astros when they moved into the dome. The New York Titans of the American Football League changed their name to New York Jets in 1963 when Sonny Werblin bought the team and moved them from the Polo Grounds to Shea Stadium. The new name reflected the stadium's notorious location next to LaGuardia Airport.

I suppose one might count the Tennessee Titans in that they changed their name two years after they moved from Houston (they played as the Tennessee Oilers for a bit), but I'd be inclined not to count them because of the obvious stupidity of "Tennessee Oilers."

The only other recent one, aside from MLS and the Bullets, that comes to mind is that the Washington American League franchise officially adopted "Senators" in the late 1950s when apparently their official name was "Nationals." I don't know the full story on that one, though, because I always understood that everyone called them the Senators anyway.

Many pro sports teams changed their names in the early part of the 20th century, but I don't think that's really a fair comparison for renamings nowadays. (Examples: the Toronto Maple Leafs were originally the Toronto St. Patricks; the Detroit Red Wings were once the Cougars; the New York Yankees were once the Highlanders; the Chicago Cardinals NFL team had a couple of different names before settling on "Cardinals.") Sports weren't as entrenched back then.

Posted by: 1995hoo | June 10, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Remember: conservatives will bash the team for all time for abandoning their deity and for condoning witchcraft!

It's BULLETS, people! Not even Gettysburg College was that stupid.

Posted by: bs2004 | June 10, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

For those interested: http://img263.imageshack.us/img263/5100/oldschoolwizardslogo.png

An unlikely possibility, but hey, I just wondered what it would look like.

Posted by: patrickneil | June 10, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

The team name has grown on me. I think it's a great marketing name. However, the colors do have to go. Blue works for me, but the addition of the bronze and black does not. I say go red (like Leonsis wants), and throw in some blue and gray. I think that would look sharp.

Posted by: swishjobs | June 10, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Ted..Please change the colors and the name. The name is goofy and not attractive to other players (college and pro) and fans. A Wizard has nothing to do with Washington DC or basketball. A wizard mentality, physique does not represent toughness, speed, winning etc..or anything that's sports related. If you ask a media outlet to conduct a poll, you would see that the majority of the Washington DC's pro basketball team fans would like a name change and color change. So even if some NBA policy will not let you change the name right now, at least if you announce that you want to change the name would make your DC pro basketball team FANS very proud. If you mean what you say about our basketball team being a "public trust" and a "partnership" with the fans, you would take this under serious consideration.

Posted by: kaigainey | June 10, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Changing the name from to Wizards was nothing more than politically correct stupidity. Change it back!

Posted by: JERRYB1 | June 10, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse
----------------------------------------------
I agree! And you know Jerry, they tried be fast with the name change and did all that PR stuff with commercials and print, only to realize that Wizards is less of a PC name than Bullets. Sure bullets do not represent peace (although at times, they have aided in creating some) but Wizard(s) can have a racist connotation associated with it as well.

Posted by: clark202 | June 10, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

I really don't care what the name is as long as they are winning. Do you think the Lakers and Magic fans are complaining about their team names?

Posted by: EAllen0723 | June 10, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Presenting... your... DC Jam!!!!

Posted by: minorthread | June 10, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Steinberg: Leonsis put up a post on his blog today which I interpret as clarifying that there will be no name change for next season and that it is not a priority. But I don't read it to foreclose the possibility of a name change at some point in the future.

Posted by: poguesmahone | June 11, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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