Today in Sports History: February 22nd

2/22/1996 - Bullets change name to Wizards

Abe Pollin, the principle owner of the Washington Bullets, announces the team will be changing its name to the "Washington Wizards" in the near future. Pollin had been searching for a new name since 1995, as he felt that the name Bullets was unnecessarily violent -- especially in a city like Washington D.C., where gun rights were an enormous issue. Wizards beat out the other finalists for the new name, which included "Sea Dogs," "Dragons," "Express" and "Stallions."

"I'm prepared to give up this name that's been a part of my life for 32 years because maybe we can save some lives," Pollin had said. "I thought I could coalesce the community. Saving a life is more important than the nickname of a team. You may think it sounds so corny, but I wanted to put in my two cents. But the name change is just a small part of this anti-violence campaign. We're going to go into the schools and work with the kids. It's incumbent on me to make a major impact on the community. Kids killing kids with bullets is horrible."

The Washington team was no stranger to a change of address. In 1961, they started out as the "Chicago Packers." A year later, they changed their name to the "Chicago Zephyrs," named after the city's famous train. The name was a little tougher-sounding than Packers and, more importantly, no longer mimicked the Green Bay Packers -- one of Chicago's largest rivals. In 1963, the Zephyrs moved to Baltimore and became the "Baltimore Bullets," giving them their third name change in three years. In 1973, the team moved to the newly-built "Capital Centre" and changed their name to the "Capital Bullets." A year later, they settled as the Washington Bullets.

In changing to the Wizards, the Bullets were the first professional team in 22 years to change their name without changing locations. The previous occurrence came in 1974, when the Denver Rockets of the ABA changed their name to the "Nuggets." Washington's name did not officially change to the Wizards until May 15, 1997 -- coinciding with the completion of their name MCI Center.

2/22/2005 - Chaney sends in player to foul

Basketball coach John Chaney did many great things at the University of Temple, but his tenure at the school ended in disgrace: having caused an opposing player to miss the remainder of the season.

To read more about this story, click here for an in-depth Inhistoric article:

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