- NBA Championships: 1
- Last NBA Championship: 1979
- Claim to Fame: The Wizards (then known as the Packers) were the first expansion team in NBA history.
- Claim to Shame: The Wizards made news for all the wrong reasons in 2015 when Javaris Crittenton threatened Gilbert Arenas with a loaded handgun in the team’s locker room. Both players were suspended for the remainder of the season and never played another game with the franchise.
Few NBA teams have bounced around more than the Washington Wizards, who sprung into existence in 1961 as the Chicago Packers and enjoyed their greatest years in Baltimore as the erstwhile Bullets. It was there, playing in front of adoring crowds in Charm City, that the club reached the NBA Finals for the first time in 1971, promptly getting swept by the Milwaukee Bucks.
The franchise headed down the highway to Landover in 1974 and, within a year, were rechristened the Washington Bullets. They flourished in their new location and won their first – and only – NBA championship in 1978 thanks to big-time contributions from Hall of Fame pivot Wes Unsled. The Bullets returned to the Finals the following year, but were overpowered by the high-scoring Seattle SuperSonics.
Washington fell upon hard times in the ensuing years and made the playoffs just once from 1989 to 2004. Injuries and bad luck were party to blame, but the team also drafted poorly and went through 11 different head coaches over a particularly disastrous 11-year span.
The Wizards had a solid period at the beginning of the Scott Brooks era, who had led Washington to the playoffs in his first two seasons on the bench. Unfortunately, the Wiz bottomed out last season as John Wall sustained season ending injuries to his knee and achilles that should keep him out for the entirety of this season as well, and the team bottomed out last season.
While they won’t be competitive this year, if there is a shining light it’s that franchise cornerstone Bradley Beal agreed to re-sign a supermax extension, keeping him as the man in DC for the foreseeable future.