The Washington Wizards defeated the San Antonio Spurs yesterday, snapping a bizarre losing streak. The Wizards haven’t won in San Antonio since Dec. 11, 1999. On that date, the Wizards won 99-89 with Mitch Richmond leading the way with 31 points. Juwan Howard, the Wizards’ leading scorer in the 1999-00 NBA season, added 11 points.
For the Spurs, Tim Duncan, in his first NBA season, scored 23 points.
Of course, we aren’t worried about what the Wizards did back on Dec. 11, 1999. So why am I writing? Today, let me go over a brain dump on 23 things about life back then.
No. 1: I was in high school. In the 1999-2000 school year, I was a 15-year-old 10th grader at Loudoun County High School in Leesburg, Va. There was no block scheduling at County (that’s what the locals call LCHS) then. I remember having five subjects of homework a night. The mascot was the Raiders. Today, County’s known as the Captains, because the old mascot was named after John Mosby’s Raiders of the Confederate Army.
Some of you may know that I graduated from Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn in 2002. But Stone Bridge didn’t open until August 2000 when it drew students from County and Broad Run, the only Ashburn high school in 1999. So to those of you who are current Loudoun County residents, like current LCPS students (or even if you are a current-day LCPS teacher/staffer/administrator reading this), SBHS had Leesburg students during its early years. And I was one of them.
The funny thing is that 23 years later, I’m a high school teacher myself. I’m at Herndon High School in Fairfax County, which is just east of the Loudoun County border. I remember going to Herndon to take the SAT in 2000 (?) now that I think about it. The façade of this school has changed a lot since then.
No. 2: I didn’t have a cell phone. Back in the 20th century, the only people who had cell phones were wealthy, or perhaps guys involved in shady business deals. I vaguely remember that Loudoun County Public Schools and other nearby school districts really didn’t want to see them back then. At one point, students risked long term suspensions for bringing one to school! I didn’t have my first cell phone until I was in college.
Today, almost every middle and high school student has a cell phone. And I have an iPhone 14. The kids can’t get their eyes off the goddamn screen half the time!
No. 3: Rock music was popular. Santana’s “Smooth” was the No. 1 song in the USA back in Dec. 1999.
Rock music, at least heavy guitar music is a thing of the past today. Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers” is No. 1 right now.
No. 4: I hogged the phone line with dial-up internet. Today’s society is used to high speed internet on their phones with speeds of 40 Mbps or more. Hard wire internet connections regularly have speeds well over 100 Mbps. When I was 15, we used DIAL-UP INTERNET on Erols or AOL! It went 28 kilobytes a second or 50 kilobytes on a good day!
Today’s internet on the cell phone towers or in your office building is .... over 1,000 times faster than the dial-up I used in 1999! My parents were pissed off by the busy phone lines!
No. 5: NAPSTER BABY! So was I busy on the computer doing research papers for World History class? Sometimes. I probably was downloading the Cliffs Notes to get away from reading boring American literature books in 10th Grade Honors English. My English teacher would still call me out for not knowing the details in “The Scarlet Letter” or “The Great Gatsby.” That was because she would ask about a minute detail, ask me, and all I would know was general themes.
I had a C in that class. And I worked for every percentage point of it.
…like any other teenager, I was looking for any non-class activity to waste my time on. Including online.
So, why did I cause busy phone lines more often than not from my internet use? NAPSTER!
Before today’s age of Spotify and Apple Music, I (and other millennials) downloaded MP3s, especially on Tuesdays. That’s when our favorite pop music artists released the new CDs. It was also when we could figure out what Juvenile REALLLLY meant by the song “Back That Thang Up.”
Today, teenagers can easily stream their favorite (and often blatantly obscene) songs on their phones as soon as a song is released!
No. 6: I didn’t have a driver’s license yet. I was 15, but had my permit. In fact, I was 15 years old on the dot when I received my learner’s permit. Today, a learner’s permit recipient in Virginia must be at least 15 years old and 6 months old! I was a few days younger than that on Dec. 11.
No. 7: The Wizards’ head coach was Gar Heard. Today it’s Wes Unseld, Jr. Heard was fired midway in the 1999-00 season soon after this game.
No. 8: I only had a computer in my house for the entire family. It was a Dell desktop computer. Today, I have two laptops, one for work and one for personal work; an iPad and an iPhone. My students have their own laptops offered by the school system. Wow!
No. 9: Tim Duncan was a rookie!
No. 10: The oldest Wizard, Taj Gibson, was the only Wizards player who would have been a teenager. Will Barton, the next oldest player, would have been in elementary school.
No. 11: Four Wizards players: Deni Avdija, Vernon Carey Jr., Johnny Davis and Isaiah Todd were not born the last time the Wizards won in San Antonio.
No. 12: Bill Clinton was the President of the United States. George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump’s tenures in office never had a single Wizards win in San Antonio.
No. 13: Current Wizards head coach Wes Unseld, Jr. was a scout for the team. He was not long removed from a successful career at Johns Hopkins where he played for the Blue Jays.
No. 14.: Current Washington Mystics General Manager Mike Thibault was an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks. He would not be in the WNBA for over three more years.
No. 15: The average computer cost $2,699! That is over $4,000 in today’s money.
No. 16: NATO didn’t admit Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro and Macedonia yet.
No. 17: You were not subject to liquid limits to fly. That’s because 9/11 was still about two years after.
No. 18: Power Rangers was still aired on FOX Kids. Today, it’s on Netflix.
No. 19: I wore glasses. Today, I don’t have anything on my eyes. I had LASIK surgery soon after I graduated from high school.
No. 20: The Wizards wore teal and bronze jerseys. Today, they’re back for some games as an alternate.
No. 21: The Washington Commanders were 10-6 and advanced to the divisional round for the NFL Playoffs in the 1999 season.
No. 22: The Washington Capitals won the Southeast Division in 1999-2000 season. They had a 44–24–12–2 record.
No. 23: Most of all, we didn’t have a site that is as engaging as Bullets Forever! Without you all, being a Wizards fan wouldn’t be as fun, even with the team often losing more games than not!