It was a scene Ted Leonsis, majority owner of the Wizards and Monumental Sports and Entertainment, had envisioned for months: Standing on the podium with the past, present and future of the Washington Wizards.
With Leonsis stood Bob Dandridge and Elvin Hayes, two of the pillars behind the 1978 Bullets Championship season. On the same stage, there were four people who represent the present and future of the team, President Ernie Grunfeld, Head Coach Flip Saunders and the rookie backcourt duo of John Wall and Jordan Crawford.
Then at 11:15, the Wizards showed off what the crowd of dignitaries, VIP’s and alumni came to Verizon Center to see, the unveiling of two of the three new logos and their re-designed home and road uniforms.
“I think it’s only appropriate that our teams, playing in the heart of our nation’s capital, wear red, white and blue,” said Ted Leonsis, on the new look. “It is gratifying that we are adopting a color scheme and introducing new team marks that illustrate our exciting future while reconnecting with our proud past.”
Leonsis publicly announced the change back to red, white and blue on October 6,, 2010 when he released his list of 101 Signs of Visible Change. Listed as #28, it didn’t take Leonsis long to realize it was #1 in the hearts of Wizards’ fans. Just a few weeks after launching the list, Leonsis had the fans vote on their favorites and the Wizards color change came out with over twice as many votes as the next closest change.
Despite being announced in October, the process has taken just over a year to get ready for Tuesday’s announcement. During the past year, the Wizards have worked with the NBA and adidas to come up with a look that pays homage to the team’s history.
“We feel very good about the process we took in terms of being deliberate, strategic, and that the end product is a very good look,” said Wizards Executive Vice President of Business Operations Greg Bibb.
The change also aligns the Wizards with the rest of the Monumental Sports and Entertainment family. Last month, the Washington Mystics held a similar jersey unveiling and now with this change, the Washington Capitals, Mystics, and Wizards’ will all wear red, white and blue.
“Our players love the new red, white and blue look and they’re looking forward to wearing the new uniforms to represent our city, our fans and our franchise,” said Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld. “It’s appropriate that the Wizards, Mystics and Capitals now share their colors and the goal of bringing a championship to Washington, DC.”
With the launching of the jerseys, Leonsis has brought back memories of Bullets’ glory and has reunited the old with the new. It is the latest step in Leonsis’ ultimate vision, to bring an NBA Championship to D.C.