When the images of the Wizards’ extremely Bullets-like jerseys hit the Web Tuesday morning, about a billion people said “Now just change the name.” In fact, Mike Wise asked Ted Leonsis about the strong sense of the past conjured up by these threads.
“People really wanted some kind of connective feeling to what was good about the past here,” Leonsis said on Wise’s radio show on 106.7 The Fan. “And so the league said we could change the colors, and we really pushed the envelope. It’s the Wizards, but it really looks different. The league was great to us and Adidas was fantastic, and as you see the logos and you see the wordmarks, we made dramatic changes without crossing that line. I thought Elvin Hayes had the best reaction, he said hey man, it looks like home. That’s what I really wanted. I wanted people to feel comfortable, that it felt good to them.”
At which point Wise asked whether Leonsis has had any conversations with Irene Pollin about going back to the Bullets.
“I haven’t,” Leonsis said.
“Will you?” Wise asked.
“Well, I’d like to focus on building a good team,” the owner said. I think that the most important thing for us is to be really really serious about making the team very competitive and having the rebuild work. And I think changing the name, sometimes it’s almost like a grandstanding thing.
“I mean, it’s a cheap way to get people to support you. And let’s be honest, it’s not a simple decision. The Washington Post one day wrote an article on why we should change the name, and then ran an editorial on why we shouldn’t change the name....I’m very focused on making sure that lesser-expense items like hats and t-shirts become iconic, because it’d be great to see lots of kids wearing these items around town, representing the city.”
Meanwhile, Irene Pollin released this statement about the new look:
“I am absolutely delighted by the newly unveiled Wizards uniforms. The return to a red, white and blue color scheme is a wonderful way to celebrate the past while looking towards the future. The revamped logos are a strong, favorable and natural evolution of the Wizards brand, and I applaud Ted Leonsis for bringing this refreshing, yet familiar look back for Wizards fans of all ages to enjoy. My heart is still with you – go Wizards!”
Nothing from her yet on the team’s name.