WASHINGTON D.C. - Now that the Washington Wizards have changed their jerseys and colors, the immediate follow-up question would have to do with their name. I think it's a pretty popular sentiment that returning to "Bullets" is something many of us would like to see.
So with that in mind, I figured I'd pass along all the comments I heard Ted Leonsis make today on the subject. He didn't really shoot down the possibility offhand, choosing instead to say that it wasn't something worth doing right now. I'll let you do any further reading between the lines.
LEONSIS TO THE MEDIA TODAY
"As I put on my blog today and I said 100 times, this is what we've done. It took a year to do. The team changed their name, changing the ID. It's a really, really big process. I think this was a very dramatic pivot for the franchise. We were able to do it in the time period we promised."
"People really like the Bullets and the red, white and blue, because they won a championship. I understand that. So what we've done is make something that's true to what we want to accomplish, but gives great comfort and harkens back to a big part of our past."
REPORTER: I suppose it's like going back to Bullets without actually going back to Bullets?
"If you change the name, it's intellectual property. It's literally a 25-month period. It ripples through everything. Every team and every building now has to change its name. The people in Milwaukee, when they play our team now, their network has to change their name. Whereas, if it's a color change, it's a change, but it's not the name. I wanted this to be important, but not the major thing that we focused on. I think we accomplished what we set out to do, show that there's a new generation and a new franchise, but show an appropriate amount of respect to the past, especially the teams that won those championships."
LEONSIS ON 106.7 THE FAN (via Dan Steinberg)
"Well, I'd like to focus on building a good team," the owner said. I think that the most important thing for us is to be really really serious about making the team very competitive and having the rebuild work. And I think changing the name, sometimes it's almost like a grandstanding thing.
"I mean, it's a cheap way to get people to support you. And let's be honest, it's not a simple decision. The Washington Post one day wrote an article on why we should change the name, and then ran an editorial on why we shouldn't change the name....I'm very focused on making sure that lesser-expense items like hats and t-shirts become iconic, because it'd be great to see lots of kids wearing these items around town, representing the city."