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Grunfeld says Wizards are changing to red, white and blue


Not a bad look. (Getty Images)


The cameras had already clicked off and reporters started trickling out of the conference room at Verizon Center after Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld completed a nearly 30-minute news conference. He had already discussed the franchise's rebuilding plans, Gilbert Arenas, John Wall and other subjects, but the lingering reporters were left with a doozy: The Wizards plan to change their team colors to red, white and blue before the 2011-12 season.

Grunfeld had answered a question about the slight tweaks to the Wizards' uniform for the upcoming season -- the ones brought about with the re-design by NBA shoe partner adidas. When asked if the team had changed the colors from the current slate blue, black, gold and white, Grunfeld said, "No. The colors are the same, but as you know, [new owner Ted Leonsis] plans on changing the colors to red, white and blue the next season."

It was possibly a slip by Grunfeld, certainly not the bombastic formal announcement one might expect for a move so anticipated by fans. But it's out there now. No need to look back in the past.

After taking over the franchise in June, Leonsis hinted that he would like to change the colors back to the patriotic looks of both the Capitals and the Nationals and he recently painted red the steps inside Verizon Center. Leonsis wrote on his blog, Ted's Take, last June that he can't change the Wizards' name but "We can change the colors more easily....That could happen as soon as the following season."

But Leonsis hadn't made any official comments about changing the team colors. The Wizards changed from red, white and blue in 1997, when the late Abe Pollin changed the name of the team from Bullets. At the time, the Wizards removed red and went with bronze and black. The Capitals also made the same color change until Leonsis switched back to red, white and blue before the 2007-08 season.

The Wizards swapped bronze for gold before the 2008-09 season, but now appear set for another move after the upcoming season.

By Michael Lee  | September 23, 2010; 4:18 PM ET
 
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Next: Some clarity on David Stern's advice and Hamady Ndiaye's contract situation

Comments

About time. Red, White, and Blue should be the colors of Washington's teams(Redskins burgundy and gold excluded, of course). I'm glad Ted is making some positive changes to the Wizards identity. Let's hope the Wizards new unis in 2010-11 will reflect just as a substantial and better change as the Caps did when they went back to red, white, and blue. If you want a current example, look at what the Golden State Warriors have done in going back to their old colors but in a new contemporary way.

Posted by: huoduengr | September 23, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Good thing I spent money on a new John Wall jersey this offseason...

Posted by: psps23 | September 23, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

It's about time!!!
Now all we gotta do is change the name from the "Wizards"!!!

Thanks to "Last Year" we can NEVER be the bullets ever again (which used to be the best name in the league...It trumped all ohter mascots)...but the "Wizards" has GOT to go!

If you think about it, It's really not a mystery that most people in this town hate that name.

Posted by: DsturbdCitizn | September 23, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

"David Stern could use a refresher course on the First Amendment."

Posted by: Barno1 | September 23, 2010 1:37 PM

No, it's you (and a surprising number of others) who needs the refresher course. The first amendment is only applicable to the government; it doesn't prohibit a private sector employer from telling his employee what he can and cannot tell the media. In fact, with the possible exception of the 15th amendment's ban on slavery, none of the amendments control actions by non-governmental entities.

Posted by: rufus_t_firefly | September 23, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Some of you who are taking issue with Stern's actions are posting as if what he did is totally unprecedented, when, in fact, it happens all the time. Players in ANY professional sport who criticize the officiating in the media are likely to get heavily fined and/or suspended. The Arizona Cardinals once had, and still may have, a standard provision in all of their contracts barring players from criticizing the organization in the media, with heavy financial penalties for non-compliance. Professional franchises are routinely prohibited from expressing an interest in players who are under contract to other teams, or from commenting on labor negotiations during talks about new CBAs with their respective unions. And it's not just in professional sports. Businesses will often instruct their employees to refer all media inquiries to a public relations person or office. Maybe that's not an explicit content-based restriction on comments like the one Stern imposed on Arenas, but it's designed at least in part to ensure that an employee doesn't go "off the reservation," and say something that management doesn't like.

Posted by: rufus_t_firefly | September 23, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"If you think about it, It's really not a mystery that most people in this town hate that name."

Posted by: DsturbdCitizn | September 23, 2010 5:15 PM

And you're basing that on what?

Posted by: rufus_t_firefly | September 23, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

"It's really not a mystery that most people in this town hate that name [Wizards].
Posted by: DsturbdCitizn"

Maybe we should change the name to 'Disturbed Citizens'.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 23, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

"And you're basing that on what?
Posted by: rufus_t_firefly"

Why, on the Treasury report. A four year old child could understand it. Wait while I run out and find a four year child.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 23, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Here's an interesting trade off the wire:

"PHILADELPHIA -- The 76ers have acquired rookie first round draft choice Craig Brackins, a 6'10" PF, and 6'8" PF Darius Songaila from the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for G Willie Green and PF Jason Smith."

"Brackins was taken by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the 21st overall pick in the NBA draft, then traded to NO."

"Songaila has averaged 7 points and 3.5 rebounds in seven seasons with Sacramento, Chicago, Washington and the Hornets. Green played seven seasons with the Sixers, averaging 9.4 points in 422 games. Smith has also spent his entire career with the Sixers, averaging 4.0 points and 2.8 rebounds."

Posted by: Samson151 | September 23, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

In case we've already forgotten, OKC took Brackins (6-10, 230) with the 21st and then traded his rights to NO along with the rights to Quincy Pondexter. OKC got SF Morris Peterson and the rights to Cole Aldrich.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 23, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

while were at it, can we change the name to the

Washington Judges?...that would be vicious
and the mascott can be one of those judges with the big gavel, niceeeeeee

Posted by: mrhney03 | September 23, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

"PHILADELPHIA -- The 76ers have acquired rookie first round draft choice Craig Brackins, a 6'10" PF, and 6'8" PF Darius Songaila from the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for G Willie Green and PF Jason Smith."
Posted by: Samson151

Makes sense for the Sixers. Willie's sort of the odd man out with Evan Turner's arrival. Brackins gives them a good prospect behind / instead of Brand. And they never warmed to Smith. Songalia, I believe, is going for the record for most teams in a 12 month period.

And New Orleans gets, um, warm bodies? Green's a solid backup, though at 6'4" / 200lbs, he's dangerously close to divi's Mendoza line for SG measurements. And they get size and potential (I guess?) in Smith.

Posted by: ts35 | September 23, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I honestly don't know what to make of the New Orleans - Sixer deal... unless the Hornets think they can put Green on the rack and stretch him into a small forward... Darius and/or Brackins may get a bunch of PT in Philly when Brand has his usual season-threatening injury.

And while Ted is at it on uniform changes (now or later it doesn't matter as long as it happens) what about bringing back Hoops and stuffing G-Wiz into the trash bin of history. Tiny the daschund has probably long since gone to Doggy heaven but the Hoops costume was so on target and his (its?) facial expression was so gloriously goofy that I stil cannot fathom why he was put out to pasture.

Posted by: khrabb | September 23, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Sweet!

All of my emails to Ted telling him how to run his team finally paid off! ;)

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | September 23, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Iremember a game...maybe about 91 or 92...when hoops got ejected. Along with Coach Wes, an assistaant and about 4 or 5 Bullets assistants. I think its because they were on the verge of actually winning a game and ref didn't want to jeopardize his point spread.

Posted by: Blurred | September 23, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

meant 4 or 5 Bullets players - not assistants - just the one assistant.

Posted by: Blurred | September 23, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure how Teddy tolerates EG's stupidity. I heard EG on the radio today, and he said that he's just going to look for the entire team to give it their all and let the chips fall where they may, with regards to winning.

Sorry EG, but the point of playing is to win....and the point of having a GM is to build a winning team...not "let the chips fall where they may."

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | September 23, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

"And you're basing that on what?" Well ... the vitriol released in 1997. Or how about the unanimous sentiment among callers *all* over the radio this evening.

Posted by: reddog278 | September 23, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

In my opinion there isn't any valid reaon not to change the name back to the Bullets.

To say that the name Bullets is persona non grata is absolutelly ridiculous.

Change the name back to the Bullets already and be done with it.

Also credit the team with the original Baltimore Bullets NBA/ABL championship. It is the only championship not credited with a current NBA team.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | September 23, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Did any reporter ask Ernie how he managed to hold onto his job?

Posted by: closg | September 23, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not sure how Teddy tolerates EG's stupidity. I heard EG on the radio today, and he said that he's just going to look for the entire team to give it their all and let the chips fall where they may, with regards to winning.Sorry EG, but the point of playing is to win....and the point of having a GM is to build a winning team...not "let the chips fall where they may."Posted by: DC_MAN88

LOL I'm fairly confident that Ernie, like every GM in the NBA, wants very much to win. But he's a realist who recognizes this is a flawed club that will probably lose a whole lot of games before it turns the corner. So he'd like to lower fan expectations -- something that anybody who reads this blog must realize is virtually impossible.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 24, 2010 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Good thing i didn't by my Wall jersey yet anticipating this change

Posted by: jefferu | September 24, 2010 6:49 AM | Report abuse

I like the name Washington Wizards. It tells the rest of the country that we run the country, and we're a heck of a lot smarter than they are. Hahahaha!

Posted by: rickgonz | September 24, 2010 7:18 AM | Report abuse

We'll never be the Bullets again out of respect for Abe. Also, it's pretty hard to market a bullet. What's your mascot?...a guy dressed like a bullet?
We already have the Nationals and Capitols.

Let's see...what do we associate with DC?

Monuments, Judges, Supremes, Traffic Jams?

Posted by: original_mark | September 24, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

About the name change: "And you're basing that on what?" Well ... the vitriol released in 1997. Or how about the unanimous sentiment among callers *all* over the radio this evening.Posted by: reddog278"

That's a pretty skewed sample. Callers to radio sports shows, for instance, are notoriously unrepresentative of the fan base. They're double-selected: first, callers have to be willing to sit on hold for extended periods, which skews them towards persons with an axe to grind; and second, the calls are screened prior to getting on the air, which skews them whichever way the host wants them to go. Internet polls also present problems, as a big chunk of the pro sports fan base spends little time on the Internet.

What you read on a blog like this is skewed, as well. There's a relatively small number of regular posters, and it's impossible to determine how many of them represent unique individuals. Those little polls that WaPo puts at the top of the page are really just for entertainment value, too, because the size of the respondent pool keeps changing, and we're not sure how many people voted more than once, American Idol-style.

My suspicion: the Bullets name wasn't nearly as popular with the larger fan base as some here suspect.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 24, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

"Let's see...what do we associate with DC?
Monuments, Judges, Supremes, Traffic Jams?
Posted by: original_mark"

What about Washington Bureaucrats. Team motto: "we're here to help you."

Posted by: Samson151 | September 24, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

We'll never be the Bullets again out of respect for Abe. Also, it's pretty hard to market a bullet. What's your mascot?...a guy dressed like a bullet?
We already have the Nationals and Capitols.

Mark, that is flawed. Take a look around at all the names that do not translate to a mascot and marketing isn't a problem.

Hell, look at the mascot we got now for the Wizards. Is there any correlation? The Lakers, The Heat, The Knickerbockers, The Celtics, The Nets, The Majic, and on and on.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | September 24, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

One last thought: we should never judge public sentiment by the amount of vitriol you hear on the radio and TV. It may just be Rupert Murdoch looking for ratings.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 24, 2010 7:41 AM | Report abuse

No surprise, the Warriors are letting Don Nelson go. He gets his $$ and Keith Smart, an assistant, becomes the replacement, at least temporarily. This used to be a great franchise, folks, and hopefully will be again.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 24, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

@Samson151 you are wildin if you think that the majority of Washington basketball fans prefer the name Wizards over Bullets. There's a connection to the name Bullets. The team hangs a Championship banner for "some team" called The Washington Bullets in their arena. The Wizards were "cute" while they lasted, but with Abe (RIP) gone and gun violence not even in the same stratosphere as it was when the name change was done; it's only fitting to change the name back to the Bullets. If the Bullets name wasn't popular why do they still sell Washington Bullets merchandise? That's not to say that it sells more than Washington Wizards stuff, but i think that's due to the actual players wearing "Wizards" and fans being attatched to those players. If the tea changed the name back to Bullets i think they would see a healthy increase in revenue from memorabillia.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | September 24, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Why can't Leonsis change the team name in 2011? Are you only allowed so many name changes in a certain period of time? The Wizards name is just awful-- it has nothing to do with Washington and the league already has a team named the Magic. Total embarrassment.

Posted by: drischord | September 24, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

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