The Washington Wizards Inspire Us To Ask: What's In An NBA Name?


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Ted Leonsis ponders the fans' concerns while squeezing his hoops-themed stress ball

Remember when the Washington Wizards were the Washington Bullets? Their fans not only remember it but have voiced how much they miss the name they haven't seen since 1997. Well, we've got some possible good news for those fans: new owner Ted Leonsis has heard you and just might do something about it.

On his website, Leonsis wrote a fan-inspired "List of 101 Signs of Visible Change," and listed at #31 his possible attempt to change the Wizards' name back to Bullets (which he listed as "under consideration"). We have to say, "Wizards" doesn't exactly scream "basketball dominance" at us unless Harry Potter gets drafted, but they're not the only team with an odd name. In fact, let's take a look at a few around the league and figure out what's in an NBA name:

Utah Jazz

As is true with a lot of teams with odd names, this one was the result of a franchise moving while the name stayed the same. The team originally played in New Orleans, which is infamous for its Jazz music. Makes sense, right? However, once the team moved to Utah in 1979, it got weird. Perhaps it might have made even more sense to change the team's name to something indicative of its new home. Might we suggest the "Utah Salties" or "Salt Lake Utes"?

Los Angeles Lakers

When the Lakers played in Minneapolis, the team name was an apt reflection of Minnesota's "Land of 10,000 Lakes" nickname. Once they moved to L.A. in 1960, however, the team found itself in the land of almost no lakes at all. Now, we're not saying they should have switched the team's name to something like the "Quakes" or "Fault-Liners," but maybe something a little more L.A.-related. How about tapping into their rich history and calling them the "Westies" for Jerry West? What about the "Abdul-Jabbar's"?

New Orleans Hornets

Once again, this was a city-centric name that followed the team when it moved from Charlotte, NC, in 2002. HISTORY LESSON ALERT: The Hornets name was derived from the city's resistance to the British during the Revolutionary War, which prompted Lord General Cornwallis to refer to it as "a veritable nest of hornets." Okay, so the name made sense while in Charlotte. But in New Orleans? Why not call them the Ja -- oh, right ... never mind.