SBD/Issue 34/Franchises

Bullet Proof: Leonsis To "Punt" On Decision To Rename Wizards

Leonsis Will Focus On Other
Improvements To Team, Arena

Wizards Owner Ted Leonsis Tuesday said he “decided to just punt on the decision” to change the team's name, according to Dan Steinberg of the WASHINGTON POST. Leonsis on WWDC-FM’s "Elliot in the Morning" show said, “I’ve probably gotten 8,000 e-mails, and I’ll betcha 2,500 of them have argued very passionately why we should change the name back to the Bullets, or why we should keep the name Wizards, or why we should have a new name.” Leonsis: “It’s a big effort, and it honestly takes no less than 25 months, and it’s millions and millions of dollars.” He said there is “so much work immediately in front of us, and there are so many investments that we need to make, I’ve honestly decided to just punt on the decision. I don’t think it’s a decision that needs to be reached right now.” But Leonsis said he does “want to change the colors.” Leonsis: “I think that it’s very natural for all of the teams to play in that building to sport a red, white and blue motif, and so yes, the fans can expect some kind of re-imagineering, an homage to the past in terms of colors and design. But as to the name change, there really is zero going on right now.” He added, “I’ve had my hands full with doing things like putting beer holders over the urinals, and I got just as many passionate e-mails on I need gluten-free food, and we need kosher food, and we need more vegetarian fare. We’ve tried to do our best. I know we can always improve, and not everything we do will meet everyone’s standards, but at least I think for the most part people realize that we are trying our best and we are listening” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 10/27).

CAPITAL GROWTH: In DC, Michael Lee notes the arrival of Wizards rookie G John Wall and Leonsis this season “has injected considerable excitement into an organization that appeared to be stripped of all hope.” The Wizards are "among the NBA's top 10 teams in new season ticket orders, with nearly 2,000 fans signing up" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/28).

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