Washington Wizards
Washington Wizards

Washington Wizards

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Washington Wizards Team History

The Washington Wizards have gone through several transformations over the years since the team was first founded in 1961 when it was established in Chicago as the Chicago Packers. The following season, the team changed its names to the Chicago Zephyrs, and then the year after in 1963, the franchise relocated to Baltimore and became the Baltimore Bullets for the next decade. In 1973, the Bullets moved to the Washington, D.C. area and took on the name of the Capital Bullets before rebranding as the Washington Bullets the following season. The team would undergo one final rebranding in 1997when the name changed to the Washington Wizards.

Washington Wizards Championships

The Bullets were one of the dominant teams in the 1970s, winning four conference titles (1971, 1975, 1978, and 1979) in the decade. The Bullets made their first NBA Finals in 1971, where the Milwaukee Bucks swept them in four games. The Bullets returned in 1975 but were once again swept in the championship series, this time by the Golden State Warriors in one of the biggest upsets in NBA Finals history. For the Washington Bullets, third time was the charm when they made their third NBA Finals in 1978, defeating the Seattle Supersonics in seven games to clinch the franchise’s first and, to this day, only NBA championship. The Bullets would return to the Finals the following season but would be unable to defend their championship in a rematch with the Supersonics, with Seattle defeating the Bullets in five games.

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Washington Wizards Famous Players and Hall of Famers

One of the early stars of the Bullets franchise, Elvin Hayes, played for the Baltimore and Capital and Washington Bullets from 1972 to 1981 after spending the first part of his career with the San Diego and Houston Rockets. A member of the Bullets 1978 NBA championship team and three of the team’s NBA Finals squads, Hayes was also a 12-time NBA All-Star and a six-time selection to the All-NBA Team. Hayes led the league in scoring in 1969 before his tenure with the Bullets and led the league twice in rebounding, one coming while in a Bullets uniform. Hayes ranks first among all Washington players with 15,551 points scored in the regular season. Hayes also ranks first in blocked shots (1,558), second in rebounds (9,305), and third in steals (736).

Another star on the Bullets teams of the 1970s was Wes Unseld, the face of the franchise during that period of prosperity. Unseld spent his entire career with the Bullets organization, playing in a Baltimore or Capital or Washington uniform from 1968 to 1981, winning the title in 1978 and earning NBA Finals MVP honors. Unseld was named an NBA All-Star five times and received the NBA Most Valuable Player Award along with the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1969. Unseld would also lead the league in rebounding in 1975. Unseld ranks fourth on the franchise’s scoring list with 10,624 points. Unseld is also the franchise leader in rebounds (13,769) and ranks second in assists (3,822).

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