For fans of DC basketball and people who hate stupid names, a Christmas present could be on its way. In a Washington Post story, Irene Pollin comments that she would not mind if the Washington Wizards change their name back to the Bullets.
To refresh eggnog-dulled memories, Irene Pollin is the widow of previous Washington Bullets/Wizards owner Abe Pollin, who changed the team's name in 1997. Abe Pollin changed the name in response to the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin along with growing gun violence in the Washington area.
Highlights from Irene Pollin's comments after the jump.
Irene Pollin made it clear that she understands fans want a return to the Bullets name:
"If the fans want to change it back - hey, why not?" she said. "To me, it's what do the fans want? What's going to please them? To me, they're the ones who support, care."
Well, I'm a fan, and I want the Bullets back. Wizards is a dumb name, period, all the attempts at explaining the fun of alliteration will not change that. I think people can make a very clear distinction between bullets from guns that hurt people, and guys playing basketball wearing a Bullets jersey.
I would not expect a name change any time soon, Irene Pollin backtracks from her comments somewhat, but I think this is a big step in letting new owner Ted Leonsis return to the original the team name.
"But at the time, the name bullet didn't really signify violence and death," Pollin said. "It was just a fast projectile, really. Which is a really different idea than a bullet that kills. Maybe it can be thought of again as a speeding projectile, but I doubt that Ted would want to change the name back."
A media-savvy owner who interacts with fans, Leonsis has clearly heard the mandate from fans to return to Bullets. The next move is his, it might take some time, but this is a great step in the original names return. Dan Steinberg showed that Bullets gear sells better than Wiz gear, an important point considering the team is, after all, a business.
Leonsis respects what Abe Pollin did for Washington both in sports and philanthropy -- Pollin completely changed the landscape of the city by building the Verizon Center, with his own money -- and would not make change too soon. But with the blessing of Pollin's widow, a name change seems that much easier, and we can hope, inevitable.
Maybe Irene Pollin said it best:
"Look, he owns the team, he can do whatever he wants," Pollin said of Leonsis.