Category Archives: Wizards/NBA

Washington, D.C.’s NBA team, previously known as the Bullets

Wizards: It turns out I’m a tattoo designer

Way back in 2011 when it the Washington Wizards finally returned to the franchise (and DC sports) colors of red, white and blue, I came up with a uniform and logo concept for the Wiz.

The logo wasn’t that far off from what the Wiz went with in the rebrand.

On Friday, @dcsportsbog retweeted a tattoo pick and it looked very familiar:

This isn’t the first time an idea of mine has been used by someone else — Mr. Walkoff, the nickname I came up with for Ryan Zimmerman, became a t-shirt for sale by other bloggers and then the Washington Nationals (sadly, I didn’t get to the ballpark in time during the giveaway, though Adam Dunn provided a walk-up of his own in his penultimate Nats game). This mover though, shows more commitment than anybody else to date.

It had not occurred to me that I might be a tattoo designer, however inadvertent. I guess I have a new skill to add to my LinkedIn profile. I’m flattered.

Oh and since we’re on the topic of D.C. basketball, here’s a little something I found in my old stuff in my mom’s basement the other day:

old Washington Bullets trucker hat

I probably bought it around 1992 at the Capital Centre, perhaps when I saw my only Bullets game (floor seats, under the basket no less) against the Portland Trailblazers.

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wall-dunk-over-g-man-screengrab

Wizards: John Wall becomes latest DC #1 overall to win an All-Star competition

In keeping with D.C. sports tradition, one-time #1 overall pick John Wall (2010) of the Washington Wizards won an All-Star skills competition (The Post). Wall’s dunk over Wiz mascot G-Man sealed the deal for the East and the Wizards guard.

If there is one thing DC’s #1 overall picks know how to do, it’s perform well in All-Star skills competitions. Five (!) years ago, Alex Ovechkin (#1 overall, 2005) won the Breakaway Competition at the All-Star Game.

Last summer, Bryce Harper (#1 overall, 2010) came in second in the Home Run Derby: Bryce Harper hits 24 in Home Run Derby for 2nd place.


Best viewed on mute

You move, Stephen Strasburg (#1 overall, 2009)

This is fun, but what I’d really like to see is one all of these All-Stars get past the second round of the playoffs.

RELATED

Hope for DC sports from…Secaucus?June 7, 2010

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Kids won at Verizon Center this weekend, Wizards and Capitals did not

Verizon Center experienced two RAIN DELAYS on Saturday night as a leaky roof dripped water on the court during a Washington Wizards vs. Houston Rockets game. During one of them, Rockets center Dwight Howard played one-on-one with a kid from the stands:

I remembered the kid getting a layup through. The Wiz lost 107-114.

Sunday, another boy, Braden Nienaber, got to do a ceremonial faceoff before the Washington Capitals game with Alex Ovechkin and Buffalo Sabres center Steve Ott.

Sending the visiting player out of the faceoff was the highlight of the game. Naturally, the Caps went to a shootout, but lost 2-1. I hope Sabres goalie Ryan Miller plays like that in the Olympics for the US team.

As for the hole in the roof, I blame The Post‘s Nationals beat writer Adam Kilgore:

He related it back to his beat as well:

His lede on the gamer was also strong:

Verizon Center had shown uncommon rudeness toward the Washington Wizards all season, but at least it had the decency not to spit on them. It’s one thing for the Wizards to rarely win at home relative to the rest of the league. It’s another for the building to turn against its tenants.

From Washington Wizards lose to Houston Rockets under leaky Verizon Center roof

Well played, Kilgore, well played.

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Wizards beat Knickerbockers for 10th win, retiring the 9-20 meme forever

Since time immemorial, the Washington Wizards always start the season 9-20, right? When they reached 9-9 on December 2, I referenced it:

and was promptly scolded:

Steinberg is right, so I promised I’d retire the meme if they reached 10 wins before 20 losses. I didn’t think it would take two weeks though. Bradley Beal came through with the game-winner (pay attention John Wall) with about 7 seconds to go:

The New York Knickerbockers than didn’t use a timeout and Carmelo Anthony bricked to end the game.

I think Tony Kornheiser started the 9-20 meme.

RECAP: Wizards vs. Knicks: Bradley Beal marks return with game-winning layup in 102-101 victoryThe Post

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DC tied for 14th in 2013 Uni Watch Power Rankings

For the second year in a row, Paul Lukas of Uni-Watch and ESPN has put together another Power Rankings of team uniforms from the MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA.

One was fun. So we figured twice would be nice.

Consider that your welcome to the second annual Uni Watch Power Rankings. In case you missed last year’s edition, the concept behind the Power Rankings is simple: We’re assessing and ranking the uniform sets for each of the 122 teams in the “Big Four” pro sports leagues — the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB. Last year’s debut installment of the Power Rankings was a big hit, so we’ve decided to do it again.

Last year I compiled a simple spreadsheet of all the cities with 3 or more teams, adding up the Uni Watch Power Rankings and seeing how the Washington, D.C. teams did: How Washington D.C. teams did in the 2012 Uni Watch Power Rankings, coming in 13th. This year, Lukas changed the methodology, ranking each sport individually rather than all 122 teams against each other. In doing so, D.C. dropped a ranking, to 14th overall, tied with Minnesota’s Twin Cities:

.

City MLB NFL NHL NBA AVG

.

1 Pittsburgh 11 (Pirates) 4 (Pittsburgh) 7 (Penguins) 7.33

.

2 Chicago 15 (White Sox), 3 (Cubs) 1 (Bears) 8 (Blackhawks) 10 (Bulls) 7.4

.

3 San Francisco Bay Area 13 (Giants), 3 (Athletics) 6 (49ers), 2 (Raiders) 19 (Sharks) 5 (Warriors) 8

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4 Boston 16 (Red Sox) 14 (Patriots) 2 (Bruins) 1 (Celtics) 8.25

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5 Philadelphia 4 (Phillies) 10 (Eagles) 5 (Flyers) 15 (76ers) 8.5

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6 Toronto 8 (Blue Jays) 6 (Maple Leafs) 21 (Raptors) 11.67

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7 New York/New Jersey 14 (Mets), 7 (Yankees) 12 (Jets), 15 (Giants) 11 (Devils), 15 (Islanders), 4 (Rangers) 16 (Knickerbockers), 13 (Nets) 11.8

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8 Detroit 6 (Tigers) 27 (Lions) 5 (Red Wings) 12 (Pistons) 12.5

.

9 Los Angeles/Anaheim 12 (Angels), 5 (Dodgers) 30 (Kings), 17 (Ducks) 26 (Clippers), 2 Lakers 15.33

.

10 Dallas 21 (Rangers) 7 (Cowboys) 12 (Stars) 25 (Mavericks) 16.25

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11 St. Louis 1 (Cardinals) 21 (Rams) 27 (Blues) 16.33

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12 Miami 29 (Marlins) 18 (Dolphins) 13 (Panthers) 6 (Heat) 16.5

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13 Tampa Bay 18 (Rays) 11 (Buccaneers) 23 (Lightning) 17.33

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14 Washington 26 (Nationals) 19 (Redskins) 28 (Capitals) 7 (Wizards) 20

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Twin Cities 24 (Twins) 17 (Vikings) 10 (Wild) 29 (Timeberwolves) 20

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15 Houston 23 (Astros) 23 (Texans) 19 (Rockets) 21.67

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Atlanta 17 (Braves) 28 (Falcons) 20 (Hawks) 21.67

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16 Phoenix 27 (Diamondbacks) 29 (Cardinals) 21 (Coyotes) 11 (Suns) 22

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17 Cleveland 28 (Indians) 16 (Browns) 24 (Cavaliers) 22.67

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18 Denver 22 (Rockies) 23 (Broncos) 29 (Avalanche) 17 (Nuggets) 22.75

DC would come in 9th amongst 4 or more teams.

Pittsburgh was first and Denver was last in both rankings.

There is functionality on the Power Rankings that allows users to rank each league and I’ll do that separately. I have to believe that the Nationals, Redskins, Capitals and Wizards come in higher than 14th though and certainly better than the Twin Cities. I know the Nats have better uniforms than Colorado Rockies, Texas Rangers and the Redskins certainly look sharper than than the Philadelphia Eagles. The Caps are superior sartorially than the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild or Vancouver Canucks. I’ll “prove” it soon.

Lukas will be chatting tomorrow, so tell him he’s wrong, not me.

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Since name change, Wizards have 5th worst nickname winning percentage

I’ve said several times that the Washington Bullets brand was pretty dead when Abe Pollin decided to change the name of DC’s basketball team to Wizards. Granted, it was a small sample size, but I don’t think I EVER saw any other kids wearing Bullets gear when I was growing up in Vienna, Va. That’s 13 years of public school. I saw other kids wearing Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, New York Knickerbockers and Chicago Bulls gear, but I’m pretty sure I never saw anybody wearing Bullets stuff. Yet, there is a nostalgia for the Bullets and a hope the name changes back. I am on the record as saying Ted Leonsis isn’t going to do it.

In the last few years, two other teams have changed their name — the Hornets became the New Orleans Pelicans and yesterday the Bobcats reclaimed the Charlotte Hornets name (ESPN) that had been used several times in different sports. It was in the Hornets story that I saw an unfortunate statistic. The Wizards have the 5th worst all-time record of any NBA nickname. The worst were the short-lived Providence Steamrollers in the 1940s who only had a .274 winning percentage. The Bobcats, a 2004 expansion team is the worst of existing teams with a 250-472 record (.346). The Los Angeles Clippers (who started the nickname after relocating from Buffalo (Braves) to San Diego) are 1,044-1,778, a .370 winning percentage. Third worst are the Memphis Grizzlies, who started as an expansion team in Vancouver in 1995 before moving to Memphis in 2001, with a 547-881 record (.383). The Wizards, even with several years of playoff appearances in the previous decade are still only 495-769, a .392 winning percentage since 1997. It seems like they should be worse. The improvements of the Grizzlies (Western Conference finals last season) and Clippers (Pacific Division champions last season) make it seems worse. At least they look good in the red, white and blue uniforms.

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Redskins will be #1 team in D.C. for a long time; Nats & Caps currently jockeying for #2

DC team pennants
Mike Rizzo: D.C. could become ‘primarily a baseball town’ – DC Sports Bog, The Post
I think that every professional sports team ought to be “aspirational” in everything they do. An example is trying to be the #1 team in a market. Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo seems to think so too:

“I think that Washington D.C. could become primarily a baseball town, with the Redskins always being right there in the picture also,” he continued.

That’s the right thing to say, but I doubt he believes it. The Redskins 75 years in D.C. and the overall popularity of the NFL are too much to overcome. The Nats, Capitals, Wizards and DC United are all fighting to be the second most popular team in the area. My guess is the current overall ranking looks like this:

1. Redskins
2. Capitals
3. Nationals
4. Wizards
5. DC United

I think the slumping Caps are just hanging onto the #2 spot and will probably be surpassed by the Nats this spring if they haven’t been already. The Nats are certainly in the best position to win D.C.’s next major championship, a spot the Caps occupied for about 5 years.

My personal rankings look like this:

1. Nationals
2. Redskins
3. Capitals
4. DC United
5. Wizards

With me, everybody is fighting to be #2 too — the Nats are my favorite D.C. team even during extended periods of awful seasons. Prior to last fall, I’d have put the Caps at #2, but a few things changed:

As I mentioned recently, I am holding back until I know DC United are staying in the area. I also like hockey more than soccer. DCU has a great hardcore fanbase, it just isn’t very large.

The Wizards are underachievers both on the court and in the hearts and minds of D.C. fans. There are plenty of basketball fans in the area, but the franchise has been so lackluster for so long that they haven’t been able to sustain a significant fanbase. Plus, during the Susan O’Malley era, she marketed the visiting teams and not the Bullets/Wizards.

So, try to be #1 Nats, but don’t me mad when you never get past being #2. This is big market and there is room for everybody.

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How Washington D.C. teams did in the 2012 Uni Watch Power Rankings

The great Paul Lukas of Uni-Watch and ESPN Playbook has ranked the uniforms of the 122 MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA teams. This is similar to a feature he did over five years ago called the most livable Uni-Cities which I blogged about back then: Ranking cities by team uniforms. Lukas explains how he did this time: Power Rankings FAQ.

I’ve broken out the D.C. teams with their ranking and his remarks. I’ve added my own as well. Also, since there is no city by city ranking, I’ve made a chart with the cities that have three or more teams. Sadly, Seattle had to drop out.

D.C. TEAMS

Washington Capitals – #107 No. 101 to No. 122

Yeesh, all those apron-string stripes and sleeve panels — way too busy. And the shoulder logo has always looked like an eagle being impaled on an oil can. The throwback alternate helps, but it’s too little, too late.

The panels are apron strings are excessive, but work within actual the uniform construction. Those apron strings look a lot worse on uniforms like the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders. The biggest flaw of the Caps standard set is that “capitals” isn’t capitalized. The blue helmet with the red jersey and blue pants makes the uniform in my eyes, the red pops out more. Returning stars to the sleeve would be a welcome addition as well. The important thing is that the black, bronze and blue era is gone. Here’s how I think the Caps uniform should look.

Washington Nationals – #87 No. 76 to No. 100

Much like the team itself, this uniform program has made some progress. But the home and red jerseys would look better if the number moved up to align with the W, the star-spangled jersey would look better if they locked it in a closet and pretended it never existed, and the whole package still feels a teeny bit generic. They’re getting there, though.

Hard to find any arguments here though, the uniforms are not exactly groundbreaking, but solid. I concur with fixing the front numbers on the curly W jerseys (or just ditch them completely). I will also add that the Nats need to get rid of the two-tone “Braves cap” for the road uniforms. Go back to solid navy roadie or wear the red home cap all the time. One of these days, I will mock something up.

There is no way these are worse uniforms than the Miami Marlins though.

Washington Redskins – #62 No. 51 to No. 75

The Skins look great when they wear those flashy gold pants (which have their own Twitter feed!), they look OK when they wear the burgundy pants, and they should really give the white pants the heave-ho. The jerseys and helmet are OK, but the whole package is starting to feel a bit dated.

Other than the stupid Nike collars that a lot of teams have on their jerseys, the Redskins uniforms aren’t bad. I kind of like the gold pants with the burgundy jerseys now, but the 3 or 4 different striping patterns is distracting. Most people probably don’t notice it though. I do not care for the gold pans with the white jerseys at all. White on burgundy was what 3 Super Bowl champions wore and looked decent.

These are way better than the Philadelphia Eagles, who look like they were an expansion team with the “midnight green” and custom number font. Of course, if the Eagles went with a kelly green set like the one I proposed last year they’d jump up in the rankings.

Washington Wizards – #31 No. 26 to No. 50

The Bullets live again! OK, not quite, but this is a close enough facsimile. Kudos to owner Ted Leonsis for bringing back an updated version of the old striped design, and to the league and adidas for executing it so nicely. One of the better uni-related success stories of recent years.

The best in D.C.? I can see argument for it, they are a great nod to the past and have several strong details, like the subtle Washington monument letters. Also, having “Washington” on the road red jersey is a plus. Here is what I said when those uniforms were revealed.

WHERE DOES D.C. RANK OVERALL?

Here is how D.C. did compared to other 3 and 4 team markets? The lists were not sortable by city, so I build my own chart:


.

City MLB NFL NHL NBA AVG

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1 Pittsburgh 7 (Steelers) 29 (Pittsburgh) 26 (Penguins) 20.66

.

2 Boston 42 (Red Sox) 58 (Patriots) 5 (Bruins) 10 (Celtics) 28.75

.

3 San Francisco Bay Area 46 (Giants), 8 (Athletics) 34 (49ers), 13 (Raiders) 60 (Sharks) 20 (Warriors) 30.16

.

4 Philadelphia 12 (Phillies) 28 (Eagles) 17 (Flyers) 70 (76ers) 31.75

.

5 Chicago 39 (White Sox), 4 (Cubs) 2 (Bears) 49 (Blackhawks) 67 (Bulls) 32.2

.

6 Toronto 21 (Blue Jays) 23 (Maple Leafs) 92 (Raptors) 45.33

.

7 New York/New Jersey 19 (Mets), 9 (Yankees) 52 (Jets), 63 (Giants) 39 (Devils), 55 (Islanders), 11 (Rangers) 44 (Knickerbockers), 120 (Nets) 45.77

.

8 Detroit 24 (Tigers) 108 (Lions) 15 (Red Wings) 57 (Pistons) 51

.

9 Miami 82 (Marlins) 35 (Dolphins) 64 (Panthers) 40 (Heat) 55.25

.

10 St. Louis 3 (Cardinals) 80 (Rams) 100 (Blues) 61

.

11 Tampa Bay 68 (Rays) 45 (Buccaneers) 81 (Lightning) 64.66

.

12 Los Angeles/Anaheim 36 (Angels), 14 (Dodgers) 112 (Kings), 97 (Ducks) 106 (Clippers) Lakers (18) 68.83>

.

13 Washington 87 (Nationals) 62 (Redskins) 107 (Capitals) 31 (Wizards) 71.75

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14 Houston 56 (Astros) 75 (Texans) 86 (Rockets) 72.33

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15 Atlanta 38 (Braves) 102 (Falcons) 89 (Hawks) 76.33

.

16 Dallas 66 (Rangers) 30 (Cowboys) 117 (Stars) 105 (Mavericks) 79.5

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17 Twin Cities 71 (Twins) 119 (Vikings) 31 (Wild) 115 (Timeberwolves) 84

.

18 Cleveland 98 (Indians) 59 (Browns) 101 (Cavaliers) 86

.

19 Phoenix 90 (Diamondbacks) 114 (Cardinals) 76 (Coyotes) 77 (Suns) 89.25

.

20 Denver 88 (Rockies) 95 (Broncos) 118 (Avalanche) 84 (Nuggets) 96.25

Remember, these are UniWatch rankings, so don’t blame me, blame Lukas! D.C. comes in 13th (10th amongst 4 team cities). I’d certainly put D.C. above Miami and probably L.A. Pittsburgh is #1 in UW rankings (The Maryland Bureau Chief Emeritus and thousands of displaced Western Pennsylvanians in BeltwayLand will be thrilled) and Boston is the #1 4-team market. I’d probably put Chicago #1 overall, though New York looks pretty good too.

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Almost a clean sweep for D.C.: Caps, Nats, DC United all win (Wizards don’t)

Yesterday, three D.C. teams played concurrently and all won — two over Boston area teams. The Washington Capitals beat the Boston Bruins 2-1 in the second overtime in the game 2 of the NHL playoffs to take home ice advantage.

Just minutes earlier, the Washington Nationals beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-1 behind Edwin Jackson’s complete game (The Post) in his home debut. Why won’t MLB let me embed video until the day after?

This followed a 13 inning win on Friday night:

DC United beat the New England Revolution at Foxoboro, 2-1 (The Post).


The Wizards lost though. Of course.

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