The Wizards We Knew, A Website Through The Years
A week from today the Washington Wizards will hold a press conference to unveil their new look, which includes a red, white and blue color scheme, a new logo, and new uniforms. Various sites could probably hold various polls until clicking fingers are tired, but I’m guessing that the vast majority would still agree that, while a color change to build more unification around red and the colors of the American flag is a good start, “Wizards” as a franchise nickname continues to be a horrible joke and in no way should be a representation of professional basketball in the capital of the United States.
The vast majority would then probably split between those who want the team to return to being called the “Bullets,” and those who understand that reverting back is not going to happen, and that the franchise is better off moving on with a completely new name. Also in lieu of official polling, I’ll speculate that the team name, and thus its colors, have been the biggest hot-button issue surrounding Ted Leonsis since his ownership group took control of the franchise last June.
Thus, the results of next Tuesday’s unveiling will likely come under a particular amount of scrutiny. Does a color change need to happen? Yes/Sure, why not?
Does a color change, new uniforms, and especially a new logo, likely come at a great cost to the franchise? Re-branding efforts, even if it doesn’t mean a name change, are usually very expensive. So, yes.
Could the timing of this move strike a curious conundrum between a potential name change down the road, the ability of the team to now seek revenue from those flocking for color-changed gear (versus later with, or in addition to, a name change), and whether Leonsis believes this move will appease the masses for some kind of change, any change, while allowing him to gently back away from getting rid of the “Wizards” until many years down the road (at least)? Good questions. Guess next Tuesday’s unveiling better knock some socks off.
So, in anticipation of the Wizards we’ve known soon to arrive at a juncture of difference, let’s use the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to take a time-capsuled look at how the current colored version of the Wizards has been marketed online through the years. [Click on a screen-shot image for a larger view.]
October 1999 – www.nba.com/wizards/
Great news Wizards fans of October 1999, Mitch Richmond signed a multi-year deal in August. A 4-year, $40 million contract given to a 34-year old sounds horrible in just about any time period, even worse over a decade ago. By June of 2001, the team bought out the final two years of Richmond’s contract for $10 million. And yes, the other great news includes the Ben Wallace, Terry Davis, Tim Legler and Jeff McInnis-for-Ike Austin trade. Team building! Go!!
Hello Michael Jordan creepily looming in the top right corner, sans cigar, cognac, gambling chips and women. Looks like the highlight from this old screen capture is that even though the Wizards lost to the Celtics 104-95, Air Jordan might have found a “co-pilot” in Christian Laettner.
WTF?!? Am I sure I want to travel down this web memory lane of piss-poor pixels? Oh well, I’ve already started.
“Re-live Kwame Brown’s rookie year in our exclusive photo gallery.”
…And the basketball gods continue to laugh at how the greatest player in NBA history came into the capital of the free world and aided in setting back an already hapless basketball franchise for years with the drafting of a baby-child with tiny hands. This is a Greek tragedy people.
Not much time lapse on this next one, just more Kwame. His face looks like his high school principal just caught him trying to poop into empty banana peels and seal them up with super glue before putting them in the donation basket at church.
“Year in Photos: Laettner”
I imagine that in 85-percent of said Laettner photos, Christian could be seen making a “Duke Face” — not exactly sure what that entails, but I imagine it involves a plan to form “Blue Devil Ventures” with another former Dookie, Brian Davis, failing on multiple financial endeavors, and getting sued by everyone from former NFL steroid-policy violator Shawne Merriman to Chevron, the oil company. That’s the Lord’s work, Christian.
Also notice how the Wizards website was used to hawk Michael Jordan’s Washington, D.C. restaurant, Jordans, enticing folks with a $23, two-course menu and free shuttle service to the game.
This is when my 2011 computer failed to update to 2004 version of Flash… but otherwise, Party John Ramos!!!
Building on the success of the previous season evidently anticipated to start with a past picture of Jarvis Hayes breezing past a stink-faced Mike Miller. It is what it is.
“One Team, One Goal” …
Below I see Gilbert Arenas raising the USA jersey of the team he never really made, and Etan Thomas, probably reading some poetry. By November ’06, Etan and Brendan Haywood got to fighting under their “one team, one goal” motto (they fought again in February ’07). And by the end of this ’06-07 season was when Arenas stopped worrying about getting revenge against the Team USA coaches whom he believed gave him a slight in suggesting he go home from Olympic tryouts with injury, and when he started worrying about another injury, the initial one he suffered to his knee against Crash Gerald Wallace on March 4, 2007.
The ’06-07 season doesn’t get enough credit for its infamy. Guess that whole gun thing in ’09-10 overshadows it at this point. Oh well.
Now we get less into comical and more into simply looking at the official slogans of team’s past …
“Go All In” (…to take advantage of the boon in poker interest, I suppose.)
“Ready to Rule.” (…with a hard-fought first round playoff defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers. May 2, 2008, the last playoff game the Wizards played in their current color scheme. Hey! That was three years ago from yesterday!)
“Determined to Deliver” … featuring a February 2009 Gilbert Arenas quote to the Washington Post: “I want the fans to know that next year, when we’re all healthy, we are going to compete for a championship.”
Unfortunately, all that was delivered was a frontward facing backpack of novelty guns to the locker room. Zingers.
Well folks, that’s about it. However, so this journey back in web information highway time doesn’t end too anticlimactically (but rather randomly instead), I present the video below found via the Google Share-Bro-ing network. This is pretty much the best. Long, but the best.
- Thanks For the Empty Pixels: Putting the 2004-10 Wizards in Your Rearview Mirror
- Al Jefferson Q&A — On Age Limits, Never Making All-Star, Jordan & The Best Athlete from Prentiss, MS
- Richard Jefferson on Gilbert Arenas, Just Because
- Ariza, Bruh: A Chill Life From Beyond the Arc Speaks After Playing Jazz