The Washington Wizards have jumped out to a 2-0 series lead over the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Playoffs and people are starting to take notice. By winning the first two games of the Eastern Conference 1st-round series in Chicago, the Wiz are in a good position on the court and with the fans.
On the court, the former Bullets are in a strong spot. Only three teams in the history of the league have won a best-of-seven series after losing the first two contests at home. Needless to say, the Bulls are up against the (John) Wall.
With the fans, the Wizards are starting to resonate. After years of mediocrity, Washington has become a playoff team with an exciting mix of young stars and savvy veterans. I’m not saying they’re the ’86 Celtics, but they are fun to watch.
I grew up a Baltimore Bullets fan and stuck with them when the franchise relocated to Landover. I was a diehard supporter. I was crushed when they lost four-straight to the Golden State Warriors in the 1975 NBA Finals as heavy favorites. When the Bullets finally broke through and beat the Seattle Supersonics for the title in ’78, you couldn’t find a happier person than yours truly.
Bobby Dandridge is still one of my all-time favorite players and how could you not love Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld.
My first job in sports was with the Washington Bullets back in 1990.
Unfortunately, when the team name changed from Bullets to Wizards in ’97, it didn’t feel the same to me. The connection I had with the Bullets was gone.
I still rooted for them, just not with the same enthusiasm as before. Instead of buying tickets to games, I would only go if they were free. Eventually, I stopped going all together.
That’s why I’m happy they are relevant this postseason. It’s good to have a team to root for and actually care if they win or lose. As they keep winning, the bandwagon gets heavier.
I don’t know how long the Wizards will last in the 2014 NBA Playoffs, but I–and many others–will enjoy every minute of their run.