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The Official Washington Wizards Thread: The JOHN WALL ERA

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/26/AR2010092603248.html?sid=ST2010092700183

Ted Leonsis has owned the Washington Wizards for little more than three months, but the official coming-out party for his regime will be on Monday when the new-look team meets with members of the media in the afternoon and hosts an extravagant pep rally at George Mason in preparation for the first NBA midnight practice to start training camp.

Leonsis already offered a hint of what is to come, in terms of generating excitement for his franchise, when he welcomed No. 1 overall pick John Wall with an over-the-top introduction the day after the draft, complete with a police escort, red carpet entrance, balloons and screaming fans in "Game Changer" T-shirts.

But Leonsis and his marketing team have much more in store this season. The camp-opening "Midnight Tip-off" festivities - which include live music, a DJ, the George Mason marching band and food, ticket and other giveaways - are considered a test run.

"We're going to try a lot of different things," said Greg Bibb, the Wizards' executive vice president of business operations. "We're going to be innovative. Maybe some of the things we try don't work, but some of the things we try will work. And we're not going to be mundane. We're going to be dynamic in how we market this team and move this business forward."

The Wizards are already benefiting, as they rank among the top 10 in the NBA in new season ticket sales. Bibb said the team is closing in on 2,000 new season ticket holders, a significant move for a team that has won just 45 games the past two seasons.

When Leonsis signed his purchase agreement with the Pollin family to become the majority owner of the Wizards and Verizon Center last May, NBA Commissioner David Stern called it a "spectacular transition" and praised Leonsis for his ability to market and promote the NHL's Capitals.

"I think that the numbers, in terms of their season tickets, renewals and ticket sales, speak for themselves," Stern said last week. "The fans feel that this is a new season and a new era and they are rallying to support the Wizards."

One of the big selling points for the franchise is that this is a fresh start, but Leonsis does not want to move forward without reaching back and connecting with the successes of the past. The late Abe Pollin and Irene Pollin represented the history of the franchise, having owned the team since 1964.

As a newcomer, Leonsis felt the need to reach out to past greats, such as Earl Monroe and members of the 1978 championship team Wes Unseld, Bobby Dandridge, Elvin Hayes and Kevin Grevey.

In addition to establishing a Wizards/Bullets alumni association - which will include past players appearing at Wizards games, practices and special events - Leonsis has also created what he calls the "over-the-shoulder campaign" to link the past with the present. The campaign will feature pictures of Wall dribbling, with a faded image of Monroe over his shoulder; and Andray Blatche shooting, with Hayes in the background

Edited by BRAVEONAWARPATH

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The NBA in general has turned me off quite a bit over the last few years and the wiz being mediocre and thuggish didn't help much either. Ted being the owner and doing this franchise right and re-branding the product might be the spark I need to start following this team again. We'll see.

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The NBA in general has turned me off quite a bit over the last few years and the wiz being mediocre and thuggish didn't help much either. Ted being the owner and doing this franchise right and re-branding the product might be the spark I need to start following this team again. We'll see.

I agree except on a more widespread League level, the officiating and lack of defensive rules has really turned me off. I don't think I'll come back to the NBA anytime soon.

I still wish Wizards best of luck and hopefully they will be able to sneak into the playoffs or at least show some sign of improvement, 2 abysmal years is enough

However to be honest I still see Wizard finishing last as the conference has

1) Stacked and Loaded Heat

2) Perennial playoff contender Atlanta

3) Playoff contending Bobcat

4) Playoff lock Orlando

To suggest that Wizards might be better than any is baffling...Maybe Bobcat? But that's it.

Edited by ixcuincle

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the Wizard's Midnight Madness event is tonight

NBA TV is showing it

I would have loved to go but they picked the ultimate fail location for that. Patriot Center at 12:00 AM? Really? They should have held this at Verizon Center so people can take the metro (keep the metro running late). This event would have been so much bigger and awesome.

Edited by No Excuses

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/27/AR2010092706347.html

Elvin Hayes and other former Bullets reconnect with team

Elvin Hayes said somewhere along the way - possibly after the Washington Bullets dealt him to the Houston Rockets in 1981 - that his relationship with the only organization for which he had won a championship, the place where he had established most of his Hall of Fame credentials, had been severed.

It always pained him that he had mostly lost that bond but he didn't realize how deep the disconnect was until he called the Wizards last season and struggled to find someone who recognized his name and could offer him assistance. Hayes, whose No. 11 jersey hangs in the rafters, eventually called former teammate and current Wizards broadcaster Phil Chenier, who helped put him in contact with the right people.

"That's when it really hurt me. You have put so much sweat and blood on the court and you call a place, and it's like, 'Who?' " Hayes said in a telephone interview from Houston. "It was like nobody knew. I called everywhere. I finally got one person who said, 'I know who you are.' "

Hayes likely won't have that problem anymore. Since taking over as owner of the Wizards, Ted Leonsis has made a concerted effort to reach out to former players with the hopes of establishing a formal Wizards/Bullets alumni program. He has reached out to Hayes, Wes Unseld, Bobby Dandridge, Earl Monroe, Kevin Grevey and Kevin Porter and asked President Ernie Grunfeld to assist him in contacting players.

Taking a cue from organizations such as the Boston Celtics, who constantly intertwine their past history, Leonsis wants players who have contributed to the success of the Bullets and the Wizards to have a more visible presence - in the owner's box at Verizon Center, at games, at practices - sharing their wisdom with the current players and serving as ambassadors for the team.

After Abe Pollin's death, and the Pollin family selling the team last June, Leonsis felt the organization lost an important link to its past success and needed to start anew.

"I promised we'd pay homage to the past, but I didn't have that natural connective tissue," Leonsis said. "I need to build that sense of community, because Mr. Pollin owned the team for so long, he was the team. I'm new. I can't do it on my own. I need help. In my due diligence and my research, I felt like this franchise has had a lot of great players, Hall of Fame players, championship-winning players who had developed and become great and successful in life."

The Wizards have invited several players to attend training camp this week at George Mason University's Patriot Center. Monroe plans to attend Thursday to Saturday, and during that time, the Hall of Fame guard who won a title with the Knicks but began his career with the Bullets said he hopes to spend some time with No. 1 overall pick John Wall. Dandridge and Grevey are expected to participate in the Fan Fest before the final practice on Sunday.

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History matters. That's why the Skins continue to dominate the area even though the Wiz have actually been more successful over the past decade. Even though DC is really a basketball town before anything.

One of my earliest memories, period, was when I was like 4 and talking to a friend about the Skins beating the Broncos to win the SB. I don't remember the game. I was probably sleeping. I don't think I even really knew what the hell the SB was totally. But I remember how excited our parents were. And then of course SB XXVI is a vivid childhood memory. I had a Skins highlight/season narration tape from that season. I must have watched that thing at least 500 times.

On the flipside, my earliest memories of the Bullets was that stupid Muggsy Bogues/Manute Bol(RIP) poster. I mean that was the symbol of my basketball team as a child. A freakshow. Then of course all the failures that followed. Mark Price, the breakup of CWebb/Sheed/Howard, Kevin Duckworth, Ike Austin, Rod Strickland (who I still think was a beast) and hot dogs, Juwan Howard leaving for Miami and then having to come back with a decade-long disastrous contract in a cruel joke played on Wiz fans by God, the stupid name change, Mitch Richmond, watching Ben Wallace blow up after being traded for a fat, lazy, worthless POS, Michael Jordan's disgusting promotion of his awesomeness while ****ing over the franchise for years to come, on and on.

I've been up in the Player's Club boxseats a bunch of times to watch games. You know who's always there? Who is the ONLY one there? Not Elvin Hayes. Not Earl Monroe. Not Gus Johnson. Not Wes Unseld. Nope, it's Gheorghe ****ing Muresean. Another sideshow. He's one of the coolest guys you'll meet and he was a pretty good player actually (the original Shaq-stopper) but come on. Wes might be in the owners box or something but Gheorghe is the ONLY ex-Bullet/Wiz player at the games.

Be really nice to focus on the proud history and move forward. Bring the legends back. Give us younger fans something to hang our hats on. Win some games. Start a new era. The Wall era. Man so much is riding on him. I got faith though. In him and Ted. I'm excited.

On a sidenote, I heard that the turnout for tonight's tip off wasn't half bad. A couple thousand people. That's pretty good considering. I was worried there was gonna be like 50 people there. I wanted to go but alas, when you're poor, work rules. If anyone went give us a breakdown.

Edited by G.A.C.O.L.B.

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How can you work for the Wizards and not know who Elvin Hayes is?

ALL TIME LEADERS: POINTS

1.Kareem Abdul-Jabbar PPG: 24.6 PTS: 38,387

2.Karl Malone PPG: 25.0 PTS: 36,928

3.Michael Jordan PPG:30.1 PTS: 32,292

4.Wilt Chamberlain PPG:30.1 PTS: 31,419

5.Shaquille O'neal PPG:24.1 PTS: 28,255

6.Moses Malone PPG:20.6 PTS: 27,409

7.Elvin Hayes PPG:21.0 PTS: 27,313

8.Hakeem Olajuwon PPG:21.8 PTS: 26,946

9.Oscar Robertson PPG:25.7 PTS: 26,710

10..Dominique Wilkins PPG:24.8 PTS: 26,668

Edited by BRAVEONAWARPATH

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I doubt we make the playoffs but I hope. The problem is our division includes:

Atlanta

Miami

Orlando

That's a 60 win team, and two 50 win teams.

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History matters. That's why the Skins continue to dominate the area even though the Wiz have actually been more successful over the past decade. Even though DC is really a basketball town before anything.

One of my earliest memories, period, was when I was like 4 and talking to a friend about the Skins beating the Broncos to win the SB. I don't remember the game. I was probably sleeping. I don't think I even really knew what the hell the SB was totally. But I remember how excited our parents were. And then of course SB XXVI is a vivid childhood memory. I had a Skins highlight/season narration tape from that season. I must have watched that thing at least 500 times.

On the flipside, my earliest memories of the Bullets was that stupid Muggsy Bogues/Manute Bol(RIP) poster. I mean that was the symbol of my basketball team as a child. A freakshow. Then of course all the failures that followed. Mark Price, the breakup of CWebb/Sheed/Howard, Kevin Duckworth, Ike Austin, Rod Strickland (who I still think was a beast) and hot dogs, Juwan Howard leaving for Miami and then having to come back with a decade-long disastrous contract in a cruel joke played on Wiz fans by God, the stupid name change, Mitch Richmond, watching Ben Wallace blow up after being traded for a fat, lazy, worthless POS, Michael Jordan's disgusting promotion of his awesomeness while ****ing over the franchise for years to come, on and on.

I've been up in the Player's Club boxseats a bunch of times to watch games. You know who's always there? Who is the ONLY one there? Not Elvin Hayes. Not Earl Monroe. Not Gus Johnson. Not Wes Unseld. Nope, it's Gheorghe ****ing Muresean. Another sideshow. He's one of the coolest guys you'll meet and he was a pretty good player actually (the original Shaq-stopper) but come on. Wes might be in the owners box or something but Gheorghe is the ONLY ex-Bullet/Wiz player at the games.

Be really nice to focus on the proud history and move forward. Bring the legends back. Give us younger fans something to hang our hats on. Win some games. Start a new era. The Wall era. Man so much is riding on him. I got faith though. In him and Ted. I'm excited.

On a sidenote, I heard that the turnout for tonight's tip off wasn't half bad. A couple thousand people. That's pretty good considering. I was worried there was gonna be like 50 people there. I wanted to go but alas, when you're poor, work rules. If anyone went give us a breakdown.

Good writeup, but I disagree with you on DC being a basketball town. The Redskins have been #1 since I was a little boy. I think the Bullets were always 2nd with the Capitals 3rd.

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History matters. That's why the Skins continue to dominate the area even though the Wiz have actually been more successful over the past decade. Even though DC is really a basketball town before anything.

Agree 100% GACOLB. Basketball is king on the streets of DC. Always has been. It's amazing the lack of elementary knowledge about basketball and its presence in the Washington DC Metropolitan area.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?id=3775073

Rated PG

What's the hoops hotbed of the US right now? Chicago? No. LA? Nope. NYC? Sorry. Welcome to Prince George's County, MD.

by Chris Palmer

It happens before every game, a reunion of sorts, one player pausing to catch up with another from his playing past.

On this December night in Miami, Michael Beasley walks to halfcourt, head ****ed slightly to the side, a sheepish grin on his face. Waiting for him is Kevin Durant. Cradling a basketball behind his back in his left hand, Durant extends his right for the familiar half-hug. "What's up, boy?" he says. "How do you like Miami?" Beasley smiles. "Man, this place is crazy," he replies. "Just crazy." There is an awkwardness between them, like close school friends hooking up again after summer vacation. Besides, being cool doesn't allow for poignancy. Their eyes, though, say what their mouths can't: Man, we're here.

Most of the crowd has yet to arrive. Trainers stretch long-limbed players. Scurrying ball boys track down wayward balls. Refs try to loosen aging hamstrings. The early-bird kids clamor for a D-Wade signature. None of them notices the brief meeting at center court.

"How you making it?" Durant asks. "I've been watching you on the highlights."

"Just trying to take it all in," Beasley responds.

Ten years ago, not even the wisest hoops sage could have foreseen tonight's half-court summit. But now, as the future stars head to their own side of the floor, they don't need anyone else to validate the shared moment. They will forever be connected by a dream fulfilled, a dream that first took shape in a rickety Maryland gym.

The backboards in the Seat Pleasant Activity Center tell an indelible story. A scattershot array of fingerprints smudges the glass. To be fair, it's barely glass anymore. With the opacity degraded beyond restoration, it's more like wax paper trimmed with tattered foam and held in place by electrical tape. But the fingerprints, signatures of a thousand ghosts, stand out.

click link for rest

http://dcbasketball.com/WhyDCBBall.html

Why DC Basketball?

click link for article

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I'm not talking about what teams dominate. Obviously the Skins rule. I'm talking sports in general. And basketball is king. Not just the Wizards. Georgetown, GW, Maryland, Mason, AU, etc. Plus the ridiculous amount of basketball talent this area produces. I also think that people mistake the outer 'burbs for the heart of DC. Not even.

And I can't believe I forgot the add Kwame to my list of Wizard disasters.

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I'm not talking about what teams dominate. Obviously the Skins rule. I'm talking sports in general. And basketball is king. Not just the Wizards. Georgetown, GW, Maryland, Mason, AU, etc. Plus the ridiculous amount of basketball talent this area produces. I also think that people mistake the outer 'burbs for the heart of DC. Not even.
DC has never been a pro basketball town. The Bullets didn't arrive until the 70's, and from the beginning they have been behind Maryland and Georgetown in popularity.

On the college and high school levels, basketball definitely rules the DC area. And it's not just the heart of DC - as Mooney points out, it's PG County and all the way down to Virginia Beach. Now that could be a great untapped fanbase for the Wizards, but other southern basketball towns are in a similar situation, like Charlotte or Memphis, and the NBA fanbase comes and goes. People are still more loyal to the college teams, and it will be that way unless the Wizards start winning consistently.

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D.C. is a Redskins town. Every inter-city is a "basketball zone." Give me one inter-city where the youth play something other than basketball? Yeah, the suburbs are where most of the fans who go to games come. primarily

Edited by Sticksboi05

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My outer 'burbs/heart of DC comment was aimed at the idea that this is in anyway a hockey town. I should have made that clear.

And again, we're talking sports. Not teams.

Edited by G.A.C.O.L.B.

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Anyone who thinks this is a hockey town is an alcoholic. Yes, I l know, and in that case, almost every major city is a basketball town.

Edited by Sticksboi05

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I'm not talking about what teams dominate. Obviously the Skins rule. I'm talking sports in general. And basketball is king. Not just the Wizards. Georgetown, GW, Maryland, Mason, AU, etc. Plus the ridiculous amount of basketball talent this area produces. I also think that people mistake the outer 'burbs for the heart of DC. Not even.

And I can't believe I forgot the add Kwame to my list of Wizard disasters.

Well yeah I do agree with this if you count college, high school, little league and street ball. It's probably a more popular sport in the area, but as far as labelling the city and which sport/teams they root for, DC holds the Redskins in higher standing than most, evident by the sellout streak.

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Football city, but a Caps town?
Which town are you talking about? Chinatown? Arlington?

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