Baltimore Bullets

Baltimore Bullets

Wizards Timeline


Chicago Team Expansion

The team now known as the Wizards began playing as the Chicago Packers in 1961, as the first modern expansion team in NBA history.

New Name Zephyrs

After only one year, they changed their name to the Zephyrs.

Move to Baltimore

In 1963 the franchise moved to Baltimore, Maryland, and became the Baltimore Bullets, taking their name from a 1940s and 1950s Baltimore Bullets BAA/NBA franchise and playing home games at the Baltimore Civic Center. In their first year in Baltimore, the Bullets finished fourth in a five–team Western Division.

NBA Finals Winners

NBA Finals - 1978
The 1978 NBA World Championship Series was the championship round of the 1977–78 National Basketball Association (NBA) season. The series featured the Western Conference champion Seattle SuperSonics against the Eastern Conference champion Washington Bullets. The Bullets defeated the SuperSonics in seven games to win the NBA championship. Bullets power forward/center Wes Unseld was named MVP of the series. Before the Cleveland Cavaliers' Game 7 win at Golden State in the 2016 NBA Finals, this was the last time a road team had won Game 7 in the NBA Finals.

Becoming the Wizards

In 1995, owner Abe Pollin announced he was changing the team's name because Bullets had acquired violent overtones that had made him increasingly uncomfortable over the years, particularly given the high homicide and crime rate in the early 1990s in Washington, D.C. The final straw was the assassination of his longtime friend, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. A contest was held to choose a new name and the choices were narrowed to the Dragons, Express, Stallions, Sea Dogs, or Wizards. On May 15, 1997, the Bullets officially became the Washington Wizards. The change generated some controversy because Washington is a predominantly African-American city and Wizard is a rank in the Ku Klux Klan. A new logo was unveiled and the team colors were changed from the traditional red, white and blue to blue, black and bronze, the same colors as the Washington Capitals hockey team, also owned by Pollin. That same year the Wizards moved to the then MCI Center, now called Verizon Center. The Verizon Center is home to the Capitals, the Washington Mystics of the Women's National Basketball Association and the Georgetown Hoyas men's college basketball team.

Verizon Center

The Verizon Center, located in the Washington, D.C. neighborhood of Chinatown, originally opened on December 2, 1997 as the MCI Center, named after its sponsor, MCI Inc. Nearly a decade later, in January 2006, Verizon Communications purchased MCI Inc., and the arena's name was changed accordingly. The following year, in 2007, the "first true indoor high-definition LED scoreboard" was installed at the Verizon Center. On December 2, 2007, the Verizon Center celebrated the ten year anniversary of its opening. In Dec., 2013 all electronic communications to and from the scoreboard and advertising fasciae were updated by ColosseoEAS.

Ted Leonsis Takes Over

Leonsis became the majority owner of the Washington Wizards in June 2010, inheriting a team that had 26 wins and 56 losses during the previous season. Leonsis has taken a fan-centric approach to running the franchise, by listening and responding to the concerns of Wizards supporters through his email and personal website. On May 10, 2011, the Wizards unveiled a new color scheme, uniforms and logo. The team reverted to its traditional red, white and blue colors. The uniforms are based very closely on those worn from 1974 to 1987, during the team's glory years. During Leonsis’ tenure as owner, the Wizards have compiled a promising young nucleus of players, including John Wall (No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft), Bradley Beal (No. 3 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft) and Otto Porter Jr. (No. 3 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft). They have also acquired veterans like Nenê and Marcin Gortat via trade.

John Wall Era

Despite having only the 5th-best odds of obtaining the No. 1 pick (10.3% overall), the Wizards won the 2010 NBA Draft lottery and selected All-American Kentucky point guard John Wall with the first overall pick.

Bullets Primary Logo History No Alternate Logo History No Wordmark Logo History


Team Information Team History

Chicago - Baltimore - Washington D.C.

Bullets - Heading to Baltimore where they paid tribute to the city's first NBA team named the Bullets, who got their name because they played in an armory.

Verizon Center
2007 - present
  • MCI Center
  • 1997 - 2006

US Airways Arena
1994 - 1997
Capital Centre
1973 - 1993

Baltimore Civic Center 
1963 - 1973

Chicago Coliseum
1962 - 1963
International Amphitheatre
1961 - 1962

Ted Leonsis
2010 - present
Estate of Abe Pollin and Ted Leonsis
2009 - 2010
Abe Pollin and Ted Leonsis
1999 - 2009
Abe Pollin
1964 - 1999
David Trager
1961 - 1964


League History:
National Basketball Association
1961 - present

Team History:
Washington Wizards
1997 - present
Washington Bullets
1974 - 1997
Capital Bullets
1973 - 1974
Baltimore Bullets
1963 - 1973

Chicago Zephyrs
1962 - 1963
Chicago Packers
1961 - 1962

NBA Championships: 1

Retired Numbers:
10 Earl "The Pearl" Monroe
11 Elvin Hayes
25 Gus Johnson
41 Wes Unseld

  *Red is this team's history

Add comment

Security code