The Magic of the Washington Wizards
The current Washington Wizards, based in Washington DC, got their start as the Chicago Packers in 1961. Their second season they became the Zephyrs and in 1963 moved to Baltimore, changing their name once again to become the Baltimore Bullets.
In 1973 the team moved again, this time to Maryland where they became known as the Capital Bullets, changing their name to the Washington Bullets the next year.
In 1995 the owner decided he did not like the violent overtones that the “Bullets” name suggested, especially with the high crime rate in Washington DC and the assassination of one of his long time friends. A naming contest was held and the controversial name “Wizards” was chosen. Many opposed the name because of its similarity to the name of a rank in the Ku Klux Klan, but the name held anyway.
Now, the Washington Wizards call the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. home. Also known to many as the “Phone Booth” because of its connection with the telecommunication company, the arena cost 260 million dollars to build and seats up to 20,173 for basketball games. In 2007, the Verizon Center had a high definition LED scoreboard installed, the first of its kind.
At the games, the entertainment doesn’t stop when the buzzer sounds. During breaks in the game there is plenty of entertainment from several groups and people who have made it their mission to cheer on their team and encourage fan participation. The Wizard Girls, Capital Kids, and District Drummers are several of the teams that show up at home games with their fabulous routines. The fan patrol is responsible for tossing free stuff into the crowd and getting them excited. Probably the most recognizable individuals in the arena are G-Wiz and G-Man, the team’s mascots.
G-Wiz is the team’s fuzzy mascot wizard. With blue fur and something that looks like a beak, G-Wiz joined the team when they opened at the Verizon Center in 1997. He is said to be the number one fan of the Washington Wizards. Recently joined by another mascot, G-Man, who is a muscular blue man, the two take their jobs very seriously.
Out in the community, the team, staff, and entertainment crews are extremely active. Their organization, Wizards Care, is committed to serving the children, homeless, and underserved in their area. They are very active in programs that feed the hungry, encourage a love of reading in children, and provide many other services to residents of Washington D.C.
The Washington Wizards are an exciting team to watch with a fascinating history. Their fans love them and with good reason. They are great entertainment and community support all wrapped in one basketball team, providing an experience like no other.
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