Saturday's Wizards throwback game against the Charlotte Hornets had an undeniable Bullets vibe to it.
The most visible change was the "Baltimore Pride" uniforms that share many design elements that the then-Baltimore Bullets' uniforms had from 1969-73:
New background photo, where we pay homage to the Wizards' past and look forward to the future :) pic.twitter.com/SZnMcqICn3— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) December 20, 2015
The retro-ish uniforms and the recognition of Bullets/Wizards alumni Michael Adams, Chris Whitney, and Bernie Bickerstaff weren't the only throwback things we saw.
The Wizards' Twitter and Facebook pages highlighted the Baltimore Bullets' logo:
The Wizards went into Bullets mode on their Twitter tonight pic.twitter.com/fweyt3PyRU— Albert L. (@aleeinthedmv) December 20, 2015
and we also saw the scoreboard display the home team as the "Bullets" for the first time since ... 1997.
Baltimore Bullets are up on the jumbotron. pic.twitter.com/888dml4m9C— Arnaud Gelb (@ArnaudGelb) December 20, 2015
The bottom line: This is the biggest tribute the Wizards have paid to the Bullets name since ... they were the Bullets. It's also part of a gradual process the Wizards made to re-embrace their past.
In 2010, Leonsis launched his 101 Signs of Visible Change at Verizon Center. Sign #31 was to change the team name, which he put "under consideration." However, if Leonsis wanted to change the name, it would have to be done gradually.
There were a couple other signs that could help facilitate a name change and were easier to do. Sign #7 was to "Re-engage with alumni for more participation; launch alumni program" and Sign #28 was to change the Wizards' colors to red, white, and blue.
Since then, the Wizards launched their alumni organization in 2010 under the direction of Bob Dandridge. They also changed their colors and uniforms to a red, white, and blue scheme in 2011 with many design elements similar to the Bullets' of the mid-1970's and early 1980's. For example, the home and road jerseys are striped at the front and the Wizards' alternate DC logo has a hand similar to the shooting hands of the Bullets'. Those uniforms have been well received by fans since they were released.
Even with these changes, the Wizards haven't actually had a Bullets night per se, except for one in 2013 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the 1977-78 NBA championship team. But after some time, sometimes a more distinct move has to be made -- which is what Saturday's game was.
I know that many of you would like to see the Wizards officially change their name back to the Bullets. And some of you may be wondering if it's more than just a coincidence that the Wizards unveiled their first throwback night of the 2015-16 season with a game against the Hornets. After all, they did just that a couple of seasons ago after the New Orleans Hornets changed their name to the Pelicans.
If you want my two cents on a Wizards' name change, I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The Wizards shouldn't change their name, simply to satisfy those who yearn for the past.
Despite their storied past in the 1970's, I remember the Bullets as one of the worst NBA teams for much of the early to mid-1990's. That also happens to be around the same time when Susan O'Malley was more interested marketing the visiting team in order to sell more tickets.
To be fair, I have some positive memories of the Bullets. The first sporting events I ever went to with my parents were Bullets games at the Capital Centre in Largo, Maryland. And I remember that they were in some catchy music videos in the 1990's. For example, Naughty By Nature made a Bullets version of "Hip Hop Hooray" in the 1993-94 season:
And who can forget the "You Da Man" Happy Holidays video from the 1994-95 season?
Though the videos are cool, there wasn't much to write home about when I was in elementary and middle school when it came to the Bullets' performance on the court.
The best basketball I've seen from this franchise in my lifetime was when the team was named the Wizards, whether it was during Gilbert Arenas' heyday in the mid-2000's or in the last few seasons under the reign of John Wall.
When, not if the Wizards become a championship caliber team, I don't think there's going to be as many calls for the Wizards to change their name. At that point, people will associate the Wizards name and brand as something people will take more pride in than they do now.
That said, I really liked how the Wizards presented their throwback game on Saturday and they should continue to have more of them.
As a matter of fact, when will the Wizards wear those Baltimore Pride jerseys again? It will be on Bullets Forever Night on January 16 when they play the Celtics. Here's a link for you to get tickets and early entry to the game! We want a good turnout and the deadline to buy the tickets is on January 2, 2016, so get them now!
Do you think the Wizards are striking the proper balance between paying respect to their old name while still maintaining their current moniker? Let us know in the comments below!