Bradley Beal Supermax: From Hero to Zero

Bradley Beal Supermax: From Hero to Zero

“You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

This cynical truism may originally have been uttered about DC comic book characters, but it just as easily applies to Washington Wizards superstars. From Gilbert to John Wall, every Wizards icon since the turn of the century has seen their name go from worshipped by city fans to cursed by the same group quicker than an Ish Smith crossover.

Injuries and poor decisions certainly hastened the fall of the aforementioned franchise cornerstones, but in each case, the ember that sparked the wildfire burning down their hallowed reputations was the signing of an exorbitant contract. And now history repeats itself, as Bradley Beal by all accounts prepares to sign a deal that will simultaneously upgrade his earnings and degrade his standing.

I can begrudge no man for agreeing to a deal that will pay him over $40 a year guaranteed – much less a man who I’ve cheered on over the past decade and whose name I’ve sported on my back. I was happy for John when he took his supermax to the bank, and if I was Brad, I’d just as quickly tell Ernie to “F*** you, pay me!” (Ray Liotta voice, RIP)

Still, as a fan, its hard to get pumped for a transaction that will instantaneously transform your team’s captain from one of the most underrated players in the game to perhaps its most overpaid. And the déjà vu hits especially hard when the last hometown hero to go through these exact circumstances was literally just bought out of the last year on his NBA-worse deal two days ago!

Biggie said it best: money and blood don’t mix (I’ll extract the rest of that bar in honor of Pride Month). The consequence of these supermaxes is that they complicate how you support the players that otherwise represent your team’s lifeblood. You’ll feel very different bragging about the 30-piece a game Brad’s averaging when you do the math and realize it’s coming at the cost of more than $1.5M for each PPG. Likewise, try resolving the contradiction of arguing for Beal as a top-15 player over the acknowledgement that he’s on a top-5 most untradeable contract. Money is indeed the root of all evil.

On the other hand, the devil’s advocate in me demands to know what would I want the Wizards front office to do differently. Should they play hardball at the negotiating table and risk alienating our local heroes? Should they just let them walk for nothing? Should they trade them for pennies on the dollar and push for a total rebuild?

That last option is the most appealing, especially given the returns other All-Stars have fetched over recent seasons, and represents a path forward some fans have been clamoring for since the House of Guards hit their ceiling back in 2017. However, this alternative doesn’t seem to be in the cards with an owner vocally against tanking and a general management team that has shown the willingness to incrementally improve the roster through trades and free-agent signings. The refreshing competence of the front office’s recent transactions notwithstanding, the fact remains that absent a franchise-altering free agency coup or generational draft pick, the highest ambitions for this team is an early-round (first round or earlier) playoff exit. And Brad’s signature on the supermax extension means it will be at least a few more years until we get the franchise reset that we ultimately need.

So, while I’ll applaud Bradley Beal when he signs the well-deserved supermax in the coming days for committing to the city and securing financial security for his growing family, it’ll be with the understanding that we’ll almost certainly be using the same piece of paper to crucify him in the coming years.

The Wizards New City Edition Jersey is the Ugliest Fit of the Season

The Wizards New City Edition Jersey is the Ugliest Fit of the Season

Ahead of the Celtic’s game a couple weeks back, the Wizards hosted their first ever Style Showcase, an opportunity for players to make an off-court connection with fans by styling their freshest fits. Kuz, Deni, Trezz, and more – not coincidentally some of the first infusions of unique personality in some time to this perennially bland organization (Kelly Oubre Jr. notwithstanding) – walked the runway in the dopest ensembles from their ostensibly large and gaudy walk-in closets. The more personality and swagger dripping from the outfit the better; extra points for taking fashion risks.

Then, only a few days later the same players planted a flag on the polar opposite end of the fashion spectrum by donning what is already assured to be the worst fit of the NBA season: the Wizards new City Edition jerseys.

The new City Edition jerseys are heralded by the team as a “remix” edition, mixing aspects of previous classics and fan favorites. A more apt moniker would be ‘dubstep mix’ edition, because these uni’s are nothing but loud and obnoxious.

The color scheme is a devious one – a mix of a brash royal blue and a blinding red that hardly a soul would fancy wearing by themselves and surely nobody would fathom combining together. In name the colors are right, but in practice they’re way off. It’s as though the design team consigned a four-year old to color in a blank outline of the jersey with red and blue, not realizing the toddler would pick out from the crayon box the brashest hues that caught his eye first. Add to that unfortunate concoction a gold varnish and you’re left with a shirt that the eye can’t quite decipher, at least not past recognizing its ugliness.

These jerseys also fail in their botched attempt to pay tribute to Wes Unseld by resembling the classic Bullets jerseys of his era. Incredibly, the designers misunderstood what made those throwbacks so timeless, namely the red and white stripes that evoke the American flag and the Bullets name with the stick-em-up font. Instead, they’ve given us stripes. Stripes for stripes sake, in a colorway that holds no significance for the organization or city. It’s hard to fathom how they could have overengineered this too death when it could have been so simple: if you want to honor the past, especially the late great Unseld, then give the people what they want and just put the classic Bullets jersey on the court and in the team store.

And for these thread’s last act, they introduce a hideous and altogether unwarranted ‘DMV’ logo. It’s a nice thought to shoutout the fans commuting to Capital One Arena from outside of the city boundaries, but has anyone ever described themselves as being from the DMV? Coming from MD suburbs personally, when I’m travelling I might tell folks I’m from DC, but I’ve never and will never self-associate myself with VA. Those from the area understand that the Wizards fanbase crosses state lines and we’ve reached an unspoken agreement to forget regional rivalries and uniformly ‘Rep the District’. Those not from the area will think the Department of Motor Vehicles is the new team sponsor. Fortunately, this terrible new badge is confined to the shorts.

In introducing the new Shitty Edition jerseys, the Wizards flaunted that it’s all the little details that set this new look apart. They’re right, because it takes the combination of all these individually ill-conceived details to assemble a jersey busy enough to rank near the franchise’s worst ever. All the disparate details make the jersey hard to process at first blush, in sharp contrast to the simple, clean looks of past favorites that could be immediately recognized as fresh. And when fans have finally had ample time to process those details, they’ll realize that when they thought these jerseys were fire, what they really meant was hot garbage.

Reactions to the First Two Weeks of the Wizards Season

Reactions to the First Two Weeks of the Wizards Season

The NBA season always feels like it arrives too soon, like the last day of vacation or white party guests.

Though the scheduled date and time have been on the calendar for months, and despite Wizards headlines and highlights popping up on ESPN and Instagram since late September, opening night still catches us surprised and unprepared. Probably the brain instinctively recognizes the seasonal mismatch in Fall basketball, the way we’d do a double take seeing someone rocking flip-flops on Christmas Day. Frankly, we have enough sports-related stress scouring the waiver wire for a bye week replacement to be sweating transition and three-point defense already.

But ready or not (Lauryn Hill croon), the NBA season is upon us, already two weeks deep and quickly kicking into high gear. Montrezl Harrell is hyped and trash talking everybody not Wiz-affiliated, from the refs, to fans on the road, to Drake. Cap One is rocking. Key players are already being forced to sit out games (thankfully not for COVID related reasons). Drew Gooden has already worn multiple horrific pinstripe suits. And the Wiz are 5-2 with several signature wins.

So, assuming that you, like I, avoided preseason like it was displaying COVID symptoms, here are some initial reactions to the first couple weeks of the season:

We Won’t Be Missing Russ: As polarizing of a player as late-Wizard-new-Laker Russell Westbrook is, there are a couple facets of his game that everyone can agree on. For example, no one will deny that he brings unmatched intensity every single game. But also, we can unanimously agree that his game is not particularly fun to watch play for your team.

There’s just not any aesthetically pleasing aspects of watching a guy alternate between charging to the rim with his head down and chucking up clunkers, even when the shots happen to roll around and go in. It’s exhausting, it’s frustrating, it’s just ugly. Debate if you want whether the swap for Russ gives DC a better chance to win, but the verdict is already final on the fact that the trade makes the Wiz a more watchable team.

Other Russ things we won’t miss: RW triple-double watch and headlines, fans clamoring near the bench after games to get a size 14 of his ugly shoes.

It’s Nice Having Actual Competent NBA Players: One similarity between this year’s team and last season’s is the expansive list of guys that are getting time in the rotation. The difference is that last season the guys at the end of the rotation were fringe NBA players at best, while this year we have a roster of guys who actually belong in the league.

Isaac Bonga, Mo Wagner, Jerome Robinson, Garrison Matthews, Chandler Hutchinson. These are real names – some no longer on NBA rosters – that we legitimately relied on for long stretches to hold the for down when Brad needed a rest. Every game there would be series of such ineptitude and poor execution that we’d pull out our hair and yell at the TV, ‘Why is that guy in the game?!’ And then the target of ire would be replaced by someone else on that list at the top of the paragraph and we’d have our answer.

This year we’ve replaced those scrubs with names that carry real weight in the league, some that have even won awards or proven their championship pedigree. Kuzma, Caldwell-Pope, Harrell, Holiday. In all honestly, it’s refreshing. It’s nice not having to count the minutes until Brad will be ready to reenter the game. It’s nice having players on the roster to make legit fake trade proposals with. It’s nice just having guys who can catch the ball and lay it up without dribbling it off their foot! It turns out that having NBA caliber players is conducive to winning in the NBA.

We’re 2-3 Players Too Deep: Unlike last year’s squad, this team has depth. Last year, if Brad had a bad night, it was an automatic L, and if one or two starters were out, it was most likely a blowout. This season, we’ve already seen on a few occasions that injuries to key players hasn’t hampered success thanks to having a talented next man up. One of our strengths is depth.

However, on the flip side of that coin, as the team gets nearer to full strength with the upcoming returns of Rui and Thomas Bryant, the Wizards might find that they’re actually too deep. With so many players rightfully clamoring for time to shine, and with others needing valuable minutes to develop, concocting a rotation that appeases everyone without messing up the team’s flow will be a chemistry experiment for Coach Unseld. Someone is going to find themselves on the outside looking in, or perhaps traded. My inkling would be one of Bertans or Deni.

Montrezl is a Game Changer, and Maybe This Team’s Leader: The first part of this is obvious; more to come on the second point.

There are plenty more nuances than these to dig into with this newish look Washington Wizards team. Just a few that will be worth paying attention to include Brad’s modified role, Coach Unseld’s imprint on the team’s culture, trade speculation – will we be buyers or sellers, and who’s got the freshest fit. It will be interesting to see how those and other unfold over the course of the season.

However, two weeks into the season, we already have one major conclusion: this is not last year’s team and the biggest change is that this squad is a thrill to watch and root for. Cheers to a great season!

Bradley Beal is a Damn Fool for His Vaccine Stance

Bradley Beal is a Damn Fool for His Vaccine Stance

Bradley Beal is a damn fool for his COVID vaccine stance. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Dream as he may for a world where he vaccination status is left alone as a private matter – never mind that the employment that enables him to earn millions is in itself a public spectacle – he’ll soon confront the reality that his personal choice is one that will impact the team and organization, most notably in the win-loss column.

This is something of a make-or-break year for the Wizards, who’ve seemingly had their finger on the detonation button for the past few years waiting for the right moment to blow up the team. It would’ve been nice then for the newly solidified leader of this new look team to use the season’s first media availability to set a tone for focus and hard work. Instead, Beal kicked off training camp establishing that a major focus of this year will be his availability.

In his presser, Brad raised some questions about the science of the vaccine, but really it’s a math problem; probabilities, specifically. How much higher is the probability of an unvaccinated player testing positive for COVID versus a vaccinated player? A lot higher.

Even if we concede for a moment Beal’s premise that the vaccine is unproven in protecting players from catching COVID, there’s no denying that the vaccine is highly effective in protecting players from something equally as tenuous – having to take COVID tests. While unvaccinated players will be required by NBA COVID protocols to undergo testing on game days and practice days, sometimes even needing to take two tests on a single day, vaccinated players will not have to undergo daily testing and will only be tested if they have symptoms themselves.

If the classic basketball cliché is that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, then the update for these current times is that you pass 100% of the COVID tests you don’t have to take.

The Wizards only barely snuck into the play-in game last year, and with more competition this season for the # 6 – 10 seeds, the team has only the smallest margin for error. The WizKids are one significant injury or prolonged losing streak away from finding themselves on the outside looking in to playoff contention. Or, because of Brad’s vaccination status, one dirty hand shake, or one new District vaccine mandate, or one false-positive COVID test.

As the leader of this team, that fact alone should have been enough of a reason for Bradley Beal to get the vaccine – personal reservations be damned. And when you consider how much of distraction this narrative will be from the on-court cohesion we need to be successful – best believe there will be questions and stories about it every time the Wiz play in New York, California, and wherever else similar mandates are passed – the evidence for getting the shot is overwhelming.

Bradley Beal said that missing out of the Olympics due to COVID protocols was “a blessing in disguise.” It’s also the reason why Keldon Johnson’s Wikipedia page describes him as an Olympic Gold medalist while Brad’s does not. Unfortunately, Beal doesn’t seem to have learned his lesson from the whole ordeal. This time, however, it’s not just himself, but also his teammates, the Wizards organization, and the fans who may suffer the consequences of his stubbornness. And he’s acting a damn fool for that.

John Wall Trade: Farewell to the Wizards GOAT

John Wall Trade: Farewell to the Wizards GOAT

In swapping John Wall for Russell Westbrook last week, the Washington Wizards traded away the greatest Washington Wizard of all time.

How do you grade a move that in addition to personnel and a draft pick ships out the heart and soul of your team? Please spare me the this-and-that on X’s and O’s; keep your advanced analytics to yourself. Save your musings on 2023 salary cap projections and/or free agency for the comments section of an ESPN+ article. Any evaluation of DC’s take in this deal starts and ends with this: the franchise just offloaded the first and only true franchise player its ever had.

You can’t determine fair compensation for a player whose best strength is being your team’s spirit animal. You can’t accurately assess the value of an All-Star who is not only worth more to your team than he is to any other team, but is arguably worth more to your team than any other player in the league is worth to theirs. The Wizards can no more contemplate a future without Wall than a Trump immigration policy can – once you remove the Wall we’re no longer talking about the same concept.

Since the 2009 NBA Draft Lottery, John Wall is the Washington Wizards. The team went as Wall went, for better and for worse. At his best we came within a few key plays from the ECF (3X, in fact), and at his worst you could only ask yourself WTF (ask Randy Wittman). The fanbase took on his personality – passionate but overlooked, raw with a chip on the shoulder, sometimes volatile, always fresh, and dripping with love for the game. The players who came through the organization were defined by how well they played with John (Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Marcin Gortat), and later by how poorly they performed without him spoon-feeding them baskets (Marcin Gortat, Otto Porter). Even when John Wall wasn’t playing, he was the story – i.e. “Everybody eats” – and when he wasn’t around at all there was hardly a point of even watching – i.e. the last season and a half.

John was our lottery grand prize, our Slam Dunk champ, our perennial All-Star, our real-life G-Man, our cover boy, our local TMZ-headliner, our Rose Bar HoF’er, our signature sneakers, our district philanthropist, our highlight tape sensation, and so much more.

Every Wizards jersey for sale at the NBA Store looked best with a #2 on it. Every reaction you can possibly have to a Wizards story or moment can be summed up with a John Wall meme or gif. Every Wizards franchise record list has John’s name on it, usually at the top or somewhere nearby.

When John Wall’s hand broke in the 2nd round versus the Hawks, our hearts broke with it. When he cried for the passing of his friend Miyah or of his mother, we shed tears as well. When he jumped on the scorer’s table after hitting the Game 6 winner against the Celtics to proclaim the city was his, we were jumping on the bar at Clyde’s or on our couches at home to yell the same thing.

No trade package can replace that. No next-man-up can fill that gap. You can’t quantify such a player’s worth to an organization, especially this organization, and in the end this trade will only be measured in what-ifs and could’ve beens. What if we could’ve brought the squad back to the days of a dominant Wall-Beal duo? Wow, we could’ve had our own legendary franchise icon, a DC version of Dirk and the Mavs or Steph and the Warriors.

John Wall and the Wizards parted ways with the exchange of mutual gratitude and kinds words, but this was not a fitting end. After enduring through a painful two-year recovery, John deserved to make his return in a Wizards jersey, and we fans deserved to see it. Whether the comeback went miraculously or was a disaster it would’ve been ours, with John repping the District and the District cheering him on in turn. And that would’ve meant something; something more than perhaps anything short of a championship could mean for the city.

In explaining the Wall for Westbrook trade, GM Tommy Sheppard said, “I want to remove the emotions from this and explain the reason we do things in this basketball world.” Well, by trading John Wall he certainly removed the source of the team’s emotions for the last decade. One day soon, a Wizards #2 will hang from the rafters of the Capital One Arena. It’s just a shame the same #2 won’t be balling on the court in the meantime.

Gang Signs of the Times – Who’s Scheming on John Wall?

Gang Signs of the Times – Who’s Scheming on John Wall?

Pulitzer Prize-winning street bard Kendrick Lamar once mused, “Gang signs out the window, ya bish; hoping all of ‘em offend you, ya bish“, aptly describing the feelings of exuberance and invincibility that come from contorting your fingers into characters evoking the violent street gangs of urban American ghettos.

Now, you need not have been in a gang or party to gang violence to agree that throwing up gang signs can be quite the reckless exercise. Done in any situation of consequence, there’s only risk and no reward. On the wrong corner it could get you shot, witnessed by the wrong authority figure it could condemn you to a police database, or – as in the case of John Wall – picked up by the wrong Twitter account it could earn you rampant criticism and enmity. Still, there is something alluring and empowering about signaling to the world with your fingers that you’re a badass who just don’t give a F***.

That certainly seems to be why John Wall found himself compromised on video broadcasting via distinct hand signs his gang affiliations. After one too many drinks, against the backdrop of gangster rap and the recently extended NBA summer break, John gave one F*** too few and made an ass out of himself.

Hopefully John was sincere in the self-reflection that led to his public apology. Hopefully he thought long and hard about what he did wrong (pretty much everything captured in that video) and whether he should chill out a bit (he should). But hopefully his meditation didn’t stop there; hopefully he also thought about the external factors contributing to the interest in this story. Because as much as this news calls into questions Wall’s integrity, it even more loudly begs the questions of 1.) Who is leading the charge against John Wall’s character? and 2.) Why now?

In today’s self-righteous and sensitive culture, maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that someone was offended by footage of an NBA star making hand gestures that represent violence and crime. However, this specific video becoming a trending topic is a bit curious when you take a second to envision the type of person that would take umbrage at John Wall throwing up his set and then ask yourself, ‘Why would this MAGA-supporter know who John Wall is?’ and ‘How would that yuppie recognize that as a gang sign anyway?’

In ten NBA seasons, John Wall has hardly ever received this much attention from the national media for his off-court engagements. Aside from an article on his recent apology, a search for “John Wall” on CNN yields few results and zero headlines going back several years. No one takes much, if any, notice of John’s community outreach – which in the past few months alone has included raising/donating money to provide DC’s poor with Covid-relief, leading protests against police brutality, and providing school supplies to underserved students. Wall’s not the star of any movie production, he doesn’t lead any big marketing campaigns, the tabloids don’t track who he’s dating or what he’s wearing; he simply doesn’t register on the national conscience. Until now, apparently. Why?

On ‘Money Trees’, the same track that King Kendrick quipped on the fun of throwing up gang signs, he also offered a poignant nugget of wisdom, rapping ‘money trees is the perfect place for shade.’ In laymen’s terms, having wealth will shield you from a lot of problems. Another parallel can be drawn from the song’s lyrics to John Wall’s life, where his guaranteed contract with nearly $133M remaining provides California redwood-sized cover from consequences for his indiscretion. Probably it was the very stability of his financial standing that had John feeling himself more than he should have in that video. However, as I’m sure he’s learning from this, the same pile of money that gives you shade can also be the reason you get shade thrown at you.

John Wall’s deal holds the distinction of most expensive NBA contract ever, for which it also earns near-universal regard as worst contract in the league. So, though we’ve seen players who make a distinctly smaller impact (cough – Tobias Harris) sign to far more egregious terms (cough – Tobias Harris), it only makes sense that people are suddenly concerned about a player who’s only suited up for 32 games over the past two seasons. Simply put, John has a big-box retailer-sized Target on his back. Like he’s on a trip to Barcelona, he can’t walk down the street without finding someone with their hands in his pocket and their minds on his money. Which likely explains the interest in this story – it was almost certainly buoyed by someone with a financial interest in John’s reputation going south. But who? That’s the tough thing to figure out, because there’s no shortage of people betting short on John Wall stock. Here’s just a short list of suspects:

Prospective NBA Trade Partner – As derided as Wall’s deal is, there are more than a handful of teams he could join and immediately be the best player. So, for all the talk of how ‘untradeable’ his contract is (looking at you The Ringer), there are surely several would-be suitors, especially if valuable assets could be landed for taking him on. If you’re Michael Jordan and interested in adding Wall, what better way to tip the trade balance in your favor than to help this story blow up? “Sure I can take that gangbanger off your hands, but only if you give me your first-round pick and Rui.. And you have to take back Rozier.”
Ted Leonsis – While the Wizards owner was initially relieved when John finally signed his supermax contract after first taking a couple months to mull it over, I doubt he’s remained quite as giddy about the checks he’s signing over to his star player. If Ted is looking to recoup some of the multi-millions he still owes (he clawed back a good chunk by making sure John sat out the NBA restart), might he have his front office hype up a story that could prove useful in a potential buyout negotiation?
CBA Lawyers for NBA Owners – With the NBA’s current collective bargaining agreement coming up for renegotiation shortly, the highly-paid legal representation of the league’s owners are going to be looking for any leverage they can get to siphon off more profits for themselves. Wall’s transgressions give them several angles to attack, providing supporting evidence against guaranteed contracts, against raising contract maximums, and against increased player power in general. Expect the owners’ lawyers to revisit this issue in particular the next time the players ask for still more concessions along the lines of promoting social justice – perpetuating Crips vs. Bloods is probably the most efficient way to undermine the whole BLM movement.
Baby Mama #1 or Baby Mama #2 – Without delving too much into Wall’s personal life, I think we can safely assume that this news story will be Exhibit A in the inevitable custody and/or child-support hearing(s) the NBA star will find himself a Defendant in over the next few years.

I’m no Kyrie Irving-enamored conspiracy theorist, but this John Wall story hitting the national airwaves stinks of something shady going on. How else to explain the overblown concern with a player far removed from the conscience of the average sports fan – during a wild and unprecedented postseason no less that’s producing an abundance of real NBA news? This story just doesn’t generate this level of intrigue organically. If you want definitive proof of that, look no further than complete indifference Wall received the last time he was caught on camera throwing up gang signs, during an NBA playoff game that would’ve carried higher expectations and been infinitely more widely viewed than footage from a house party.

Mo’ money, mo’ problems.

In conclusion, while we won’t be able to identify the culprit fanning the flames on John Wall hate (too many suspects to choose from), we can be pretty damn sure we’ll hear about this incident again on one front of the other. For John’s sake, here’s hoping he’s learned the most fundamental lesson from all this: Rep the District, and nothing else.

How to Raise A WizKid: Tips for Teaching Your Kids to Love the Wizards

How to Raise A WizKid: Tips for Teaching Your Kids to Love the Wizards

It’s hard to be a protective parent of young children in the year 2020 – what, with Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig constantly bombarding our kids with sex and materialism, and Nike feeding them the lie that Kevin Durant has the heart of a champion.

ESPN can keep spinning this change in NBA culture as the “player empowerment era” until it can’t walk straight, but those of us who’ve been following basketball since before Twitter recognize this as one of the oldest evils in the game: bandwagoning. The only difference now is the players are getting in on taking the easy way out too.

Yes, I knew what I was getting into when I chose to have children outside of a major basketball market, but at the very least it used to be it was left to the parents to decide if and when to have the “talk” with their kids about the ESPN/TNT national broadcast schedule, All-Star fan voting, and referee superstar treatment. Nowadays, however, I can’t take my boys to a park in MD without some knucklehead 12-year-old with absentee parents scandalizing my kids’ innocence by rocking a Steph Curry jersey, flaunting his new Kyrie 6’s, and practicing James Harden step-back threes from the half-court circle. “F*** you, kid! Don’t you know second-hand hero ball is extremely hazardous to young children!?!”

Declining fandom fertility (fervor-tility) isn’t a problem unique to the DC basketball fan. All over the country, NBA fans who don’t reside in the Northeast, LA, or Texas go through the same struggle of keeping their kids above the influence of basketball players who are their own brand.

For us in the DMV though, the imperative of passing on our Wizards fandom goes deeper than trying to avoid raising a kid you’ll resent every Christmas Day during the NBA marquee games. For us, transmitting faith in the Wizards is a matter of survival vs. extinction – because if we fail in this calling, our kind will go the way of G-Man, never to be seen again. Capitals owner Ted Leonsis couldn’t build a fanbase if he purchased a Vornado Air Mover from Lowe’s with no assembly required. And the legions of spineless copycats that comprise NBA Twitter certainly won’t be joining our bandwagon any time before we land Lebron ‘Bronny-Bron” James III in the 2045 NBA Draft. It’s clear then that the only viable way to preserve our tribe is to dutifully indoctrinate our sons and daughters in the history, culture, and rituals of Washington Wizards basketball.

I’ve fathered two human beings to date, and from the moment the older one drew his first breath three years ago, my highest priority in this world has been the fulfillment of my parental obligations: to protect and provide for my sons, to teach them, and to make damn certain they Rep the District. But these days just talking to your kids isn’t enough to keep them subscribing to the First Take podcast, or from succumbing to the temptations of the Duke Blue Devil.

We need to be more vigilant. Being a parent of a #DCFamily is a full-time job, and it takes a full Capital One Arena to raise a WizKid. With that in mind, I’m outlining some tricks-of-the-trade for my fellow Wizards moms and pops (and future Wizards moms and pops too) of how to help your young children grow up to be the best Wizards fans they can be.


1. Enhance your kids’ memorable milestones with Wizards gear: People claim all the time that they’re lifelong fans of whatever team, but do we really believe they were worried about repping a particular sports squad when they were still nursing at mom’s chest and pooping in their pants? Give your kids ammo to stake that claim credibly by making sure that when the pics of their big firsts get posted across ten different social media sites they have them sporting the Wizards logo. Hey Facebook, here’s baby coming home for the first time – and look! he’s got on a Wizards newborn onesie. 110 Likes. Look Instagram, here’s a video of baby exploring his first snowfall, and of course he has a Wizards hat keeping his head warm! Memory complete with a snazzy caption and Wizards hashtags.

2. Tailor holiday traditions to be Wizards specific: Every holiday, we parents go through a lot of trouble and elaborate backstories to spoil our kids with new toys and candy, so we might as well leverage all that undue stress to stoke their love for our basketball team. In my house, it’s John Wall not Santa Claus, who brings gifts on Christmas (honestly, isn’t a an All-Star with a $40M salary generously giving back to the community more believable than an old guy flying around on a sleigh?); people give us candy on Halloween to commemorate the anniversary of Bradley Beal’s first points as a Wizards; and since last year, the 4th of July fireworks are a celebration of our independence from Ernie Grunfeld.

3. Implement your own Wiz50 promos at home: Food promos like Papa John’s Wiz50 do well to give fans an extra incentive to root for team success – I for one never order pizza unless the Wizards won and scored 100 points the previous night. Why not take that tactic a step further and start conditioning your children to enjoy it when the Wiz win? For my boys, if the team wins, we get ice cream. If the team wins against Kyrie Irving or the Celtics, we get ice cream AND brownies. And if the Wiz ever win the championship, we’ll be going to Disneyland, Disney World, and Disneyland Paris.

4. Figure out how to explain to your toddlers what exactly a wizard is (“It’s like a man who can move rocks and things by twirling a stick..”) and why it’s totally badass and awesome (think Gandalf and Voldemort, not Wizards of Waverly Place): It would be much easier for kids to understand what our mascot was if it was something easy to grasp like a Bull, or a Hawk, or even a Sun. My two-year old says “wizards” all the time, but I’m pretty sure he thinks the word means 6’ 65 black guy.

5. Teach your kids how to dougie and groove to Mambo Sauce’s “Welcome to DC.”

6. Sign your kids up for the Wizards Kids Club: Not because it will help them become better fans, but because they sometimes give out exclusive bobbleheads that you’ll want to add you personal collection (which is obviously kept out of your kids’ reach.)

7. Get your kids to the arena early and often: This past MLK Day, I took my two toddlers to their first Wizards game and my immediate takeaway was I should’ve taken them sooner. We have the Wiz on at home all the time, but until my boys witnessed a contest in person, I’m not sure they really understood that what they’ve been seeing on the television represents live events taking place elsewhere in the world. Also, kids under 3 don’t need a ticket, so you should start building up their fandom resume while it’s free.

A couple tips, based on my recent experience, for parents taking their little ones to Capital One Arena:

– The player introductions are loud. With the blasting go-go music, the intense light display, and the flames shooting out of the backboard, your kid might get hit with sensory overload before the game even starts. My oldest hid in his face in my arms and my youngest fell into a wide-eyed trance. Depending on how your kids do with things like fireworks or police sirens, consider taking your seats after tip-off.

– Pick your seats to maximize space. If your kids are anything like mine, the only thing they’re going to sit still for two hours for is a Pixar movie on Disney +. So, when planning your Wizards excursion, try to find seats that are going to allow for your tots to move around a little. We managed to sit in the first row of a section, allowing our boys to play on the stairs without having to worry about anyone passing by. Also target games that might be more sparsely attended – we got lucky in having four empty chairs next to us and the extra space helped a lot.

– At the game we went to the Pistons were wearing their alternative red jerseys, which led some to confusion for our boys who were wearing red Wizards shirt and therefore uncertain of why their parents were cheering the team in white. Ideally, you can take your kid to a game where the opponent’s green, purple, or orange jerseys clearly delineate the good from the evil.

– Nothing is going to settle your kids down when they get antsy better than some ice cream, but after halftime, the line for Rita’s was over thirty minutes. Plan your soft-serve run ahead of time, whether it’s drawing lots for which parent goes to pick it up and bribing a teenager near the front of the queue to let you cut in line.

Do Not Buy 2019 – 2020 Wizards Season Tickets

Do Not Buy 2019 – 2020 Wizards Season Tickets

For the past three seasons (2018, 2017, 2016) I’ve conducted an increasingly in-depth analysis to answer what was once a legitimate – though it may now be closer to preposterous – question: Are Washington Wizards season tickets worth the money?

If you watched as much as five minutes of this team trying to play basketball last season, then you’ll recognize this as a pointless question with a painfully obvious and unfortunate answer; i.e. the WizKid equivalent of your girlfriend asking if the dress she’s trying on makes her butt look fat. If you watched more than just a little Wizards basketball – if you follow Bradley Beal’s baby-momma on Instagram, and are upset about Steve and Kara leaving the local telecast, and maybe even publicly identify yourself as a Wizards fan – then it never occurred to you even to ask this question, just as it never occurred to you to waste time pondering something as moronic as whether the franchise might actually be worse off without Ernie Grunfeld.

Still, in the interest of keeping this annual blog series running for another year, and at risk of losing some credibility by proving that some questions really are dumb ones, I’m updating my analysis for the 2019 – 2020 NBA Season.

Answer: No. Duh.


After last year’s unwatchable season, John Wall’s extended absence, and an offseason totally lacking in excitement or creativity, not much more needs to be said about why you shouldn’t shell out thousands of dollars to watch the Wiz lose a bunch of games this year. If you’re in search of a more thorough analysis you can refer back to last year’s post, but the key points are these:

  1. Even in a good year, season ticket holder (STH) prices are at best only marginally cheaper than individual game prices for most games.
  2. The only true advantage of buying season tickets is that if you sign up early enough you get discounted playoff tickets. With no playoffs last season (and for that matter, none in the near future), there’s zero incentive for committing to tickets for every game.
  3. If you’re thinking about buying season tickets to resell for a profit, don’t! You’re going to lose a lot of money.

There are, of course, exceptions to these rules. For example, if you have a ton of disposable income and accrue value from being able to call yourself a “season ticket holder”, then fine, go for it. Likewise, if you truly plan on going to every single home game, then sure, season tickets are probably the cheapest route to do that. And of course, if you can use your company check book to write-off the cost as a business expense, then by all means, please do buy season tickets.

For everyone else, however, forget the DC12 Club and spend your money wisely by cherry-picking the best games and deals off of NBA TicketExchange and SeatGeek (StubHub sucks!). You’ll be glad you did when you have those extra bills in your pocket and can skip that dead-of-winter Charlotte Hornets game free of guilt.

Top Ten Games for Value

For those taking the sage advice above and building out a slate of games to attend, here’s my list of this season’s 10 best Wizards games for your money (prices reflect cost for 2 lower-level tickets on NBA TicketExchange, which compare to $112/game at the STH price). As you’ll see, the end result is an awesome lineup of games for under $1,500, or less than a third of season ticket prices ($4,600) for comparable seats.

Wednesday, October 30 vs. Houston Rockets – $167 (105 Row S) vs. $112 STH price: Home opener, free t-shirt giveaway, an early view of the James Harden and Russel Westbrook experiment – what’s not to like about this game? Bonus: It’s the day before Halloween so you can wear your wizard costume (I’m partial to Gandalf) to the game!

Sunday, November 24 vs. Sacramento Kings – $100 (118 Row M): The Skins season will have been over for months and your fantasy football team will probably be in the dump, so you might as well spend your Sunday evening watching the Wiz take on one of the league’s fun, up-and-coming teams

Thursday, December 5 vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $184 (114 Row T): This is not a bad price to watch a legitimate NBA Championship contender – come early because the Wiz might be blown out by halftime.

Saturday, January 4 vs. Denver Nuggets – $130 (104 Row H): Hopefully your New Year’s hangover will have cleared up in time for you to catch this rising Nuggets team that the ticket prices suggest everyone’s sleeping on.

Monday, January 20 vs. Detroit Pistons – $86 (104 Row H): Is there a better way to honor MLK’s contributions to the world than using your day off to watch professional basketball in the nation’s capital? No, there is not.

Monday, February 3 vs. Golden State Warriors – $218 (115 Row T): After a half-decade of the Warriors bandwagon getting out of hand, you can finally watch Steph Curry at reasonable prices again.

Friday, February 7 vs. Dallas Mavericks – $142 (104 Row H): Doncic and Porzingis; if you know you know.

Monday, February 24 vs. Milwaukee Bucks – $175 (104 Row Q): Giannis, the Greek Freak MVP, Antetokounmpo. ‘Nuff said.

Wednesday, April 1 vs New Orleans Pelicans – $157 (115 Row X): Zion Williamson. Also enough said.

Wednesday, April 15 vs. Indiana Pacers – $103 (118 Row K): With no playoffs this will be the last chance to catch the WizKids for half a year. Come to the game to send the boys off strong and pray to God almighty for lucky ping pong balls and a full recovery for John Wall.

The Wizards Fired Ernie and Brought Hope Back to the Fanbase

The Wizards Fired Ernie and Brought Hope Back to the Fanbase

I have two kids, both boys, born twelve months apart and both born during Washington Wizards playoffs series.

The birth of my firstborn, Lorenzo, coincided with the start of the 2017 Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Boston Celtics – his mother went into labor shortly before tipoff of Game 1, and the game was playing in the background during the first hours of a long delivery. When Luca joined our family a year later in April 2018, the Wizards were in the midst of a first-round series with the Toronto Raptors.

In both cases, I hoped the introduction to the world of a new WizKid would bring with it a wave of fortune for the hometown basketball team. I fantasized of pointing to my boys as good luck charms, of sharing pictures of them in Wizards newborn onesies, and, above all, of them being welcomed into this life with a winning team to root for. In both cases, my dreams would not be realized, doomed in large part by the glaring deficiencies in how our long-time General Manager assembled the team roster.

I remember sitting in a Labor and Delivery room, trying to mute my yells of frustration so as to not to wake my resting wife and newborn son, as I watched a 5’8” guard carve our team up for 53 points because we didn’t have a competent rim protector. Then, a few days later in one of our son’s first nights at home, I looked on with equal anguish as the playoff campaign came to an end with our star backcourt succumbing to the exhaustion of a long season without serviceable backups. The next year from a hospital couch, I’d watch the season end in similarly depressing fashion, derailed this time by the GM’s inability to field a team that could seed high enough to avoid a matchup against the conference’s top team.

These were not the basketball memories that I wanted to associate with my first days of fatherhood.

Teaching my boys the peculiar ritual of rooting for the Wizards was supposed to be fun; using them as excuses to attend games, instructing them to admire – but not play with – my bobblehead collection, regaling them with tales of Agent Zero and Pierre McGee. Instead, Wizards basketball was becoming less and less of a fixture of our household, trending quickly downward in alignment with the team’s own continuous regression.


I thought to myself that perhaps there was no other way to be initiated as a Wizards fan than to be immersed in disappointment from the outset – such a start would certainly set expectations appropriately. I laughed (cried) that nothing could so perfectly capture the #SoWizards curse for me than seeing the heirs to my rabid fandom doomed to ultimately grow up rooting for another basketball team.

Then again, if the next forty years of professional basketball in the nation’s capital turned out anything like the previous forty, did I even want to saddle my offspring with the burden of believing that DC was rising? Maybe it was better to let them live happy, unfettered lives as Capitals or Manchester City fans. This is what the miserable, soul-crushing past two seasons of NBA basketball had brought me to: a dejection and hopelessness for the future that was so strong that I might’ve considered letting my bloodline of Wizards devotion die with me.

Then, on April 2, 2019, a date which will live in reverence, the heavens opened up, the earth stopped spinning, and Ernie Grunfeld was fired as President of Basketball Operation to restore the hope of Wizards fans everywhere.


It’s hard to explain how out-of-nowhere the Grunfeld firing came. Ernie was so secure in his institutionalized position of engineering incompetence, that fans were almost forced to accept the he’d be trading draft picks to get rid of bad contracts into perpetuity. As much as everybody related to the sentiment behind a good “Fire Ernie” chant, it eventually wasn’t worth wasting your breath.

It’s also hard to explain just how universal the jubilant reaction to Ernie’s dismissal was. As soon as the news broke, I received congratulatory messages and texts with prayer hands emojis from all corners – DC, Maryland, Virginia, California, Brazil, friends, enemies, people I hadn’t talked to in years – all ecstatic that even though no roster changes had occurred, at least the pervading shadow of the General Mismanager was gone!

What’s not hard to explain is why everyone was so happy. Ernie Grunfeld had a proven track record as one of the very worst GMs in the league. For reasons unknown, he also had a record as one of the longest tenured GMs in the league. Much can be and has been written about Grunfeld numerous blunders – there’s far too many to count – but you don’t need more than three examples to demonstrate just how far astray he led this franchise in the course of his 16 years:

  1. Grunfeld traded the #5 pick in the 2009 draft for Randy Foye and Mike Miller. Steph Curry was selected at #7 and went on to win two MVPs, six-plus All NBA nods, and at least three championships. The Wizards went on to win 26 games in the 2009-10 season and neither Miller nor Foye would be on the team the next year.
  2. In the 2011 draft, critical for building a solid foundation around new franchise cornerstone John Wall, Grunfeld selected Jan Vesely with the #6 pick, leaving Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Kemba Walker, Jimmy Butler, Nikola Vucevic and others on the board. Vesely flamed out of the NBA within three seasons, averaging a mere 3.6 points and 15 minutes per game. Those other names and more went on to be All Stars with long careers.
  3. Leading up to the free agency summer of 2016, Grunfeld let valuable assets like Trevor Ariza leave in order to engineer enough cap space for a run at Kevin Durant. Durant never agreed to even meet with the Wizards. Grunfeld instead used the cap space to give over $100M to Ian Mahinmi, Andrew Nicholson, and Jason Smith.

It’s abundantly clear, then, that the removal of Ernie Grunfeld is addition by subtraction, or even multiplication by subtraction. Bradley Beal knew as much at the beginning of the season, when he looked over at Ernie after a volatile practice and said about the ongoing fiascos that “it starts at the top.” Indeed, it does. And with Ernie at the helm, the Wizards were destined to never be anything more than the underachieving, laughingstock of the league that they’ve been for the majority of Grunfeld’s tenure.

Now that he’s gone, the possibility of another identity is once again viable. Of course, a quick turnaround is by no means the new expectation, and Grunfeld is certainly leaving a dumpster fire of a mess for the next executive to clean up. At the very least, however, we now have a prayer that our franchise will one day be a competitive one. With Ernie, the only thing we had worth aspiring to was free Chick-fil-A.

It’s really a testament to the power of sports that the Wizards have been able to maintain any semblance of a fan base at all. Irrationality is the essence of being a team fanatic, but even supporters of the most decrepit teams find a glimmer of promise to fuel their continued, if frequently frustrated, allegiance. Ernie Grunfeld’s existence pilfered that from this fanbase.

Why get excited for a high draft pick when the GM is going to waste it – that is if he doesn’t trade the pick first. Why bother trying to fool yourself into believing that this time the franchise will successfully develop a talented player to reach his potential? Why keep track of free agency and trade rumors when your team never lands big-time free agents or makes non-luxury tax-related trades?

Why watch at all?

This was the line of thinking that Ernie Grunfeld’s stewardship transmitted. Its ill effects were visible anywhere and everywhere you looked: in the constant reports of turmoil in the locker room, in the underhanded jabs from players and commentators around the league, in the half-empty stands at the Capital One Center, and in the local kids rocking Kyrie Irving jerseys instead of John Wall threads. As long as Ernie remained in charge, you were better off not investing your time and energy into the Wizards.

But now, the wicked witch is dead! Ernie Grunfeld is gone and we’re free at last! Free to hope in our team, free to watch basketball without fatalistic dread, and free to teach our sons to love the Washington Wizards.


How The Wizards Discovered Their Identity as the Most Unlikable Team in the NBA

How The Wizards Discovered Their Identity as the Most Unlikable Team in the NBA

Tracking the NBA off-season as a Wizards fan is a horrible way to waste the summer. While fans of rival teams get to debate whether they won the big trade and brag about their marquee signings, the high points of our summer are borderline satirical press conferences introducing players that haven’t moved the needle for three-plus years.

Considering the low benchmark set over summers past, most Wizards fans weren’t too surprised by this off-season’s underwhelming moves – we’ve come to grips with the fact that Ernie will only ever acquire a key piece if a no-brainer draft pick falls in his lap. What was curious, however, was that our personnel moves seemingly failed to add one thing that’s been glaringly missing from this squad: an identity.


Every team with title aspirations plays with an understanding of what they do well and what their approach to winning will be. The Rockets fire up either a layup or a three in 7 seconds or less, the Celtics are stocked with lengthy wing defenders, and the Warriors start five All-NBA players. The Wizards, on the other hand, slogged through last season unsure of who they were and how they wanted to attack. Are they a bad good team or a good bad team? Great question. Are they three-point shooters? No. A fast-break team? Not really. Hard-nosed defenders? F*** no!

The Road to Self-Discovery

So, while on paper the team should improve by replacing Gortat with the center he used to come off the bench for, and substituting Jodie Meeks with literally anybody, it was disappointing that those additions didn’t readily clarify the team’s strategy going forward. What transformational skill-sets do Austin Rivers and Dwight Howard provide other than making fans feel icky about rooting for the players on their team? What new dimension was added aside from the looming possibility that these fiery personalities will combust an already-volatile locker room? The short and obvious answer is … nothing.

Aside from some new window dressing, the Wizards executives are running it back with more or less the same team that underperformed all last year – at least at first glance. When you take a step back, however, you’ll see that these personnel decisions add up to more than a simple cosmetic cover-up. Instead, they fit a well-established pattern, one that has become so entrenched in how this organization does business that it’s time to admit it’s become a core element of how this franchise operates. The Wizards didn’t find their next great superstar this summer, but they did discover their one true identity: the most unlikable team in the NBA.

Soul Searching – How Did We Get This Way?

Culture is established at the upper echelons of an organization, from where it filters down through the ranks. Where the head goes, the body follows. Near the top of the Wizards organization is Ernie Grunfeld, the most irredeemable and unapologetically incompetent figure in Washington sports. The only man above him on the executive ladder is Ted Leonsis, whose NBA resume includes entire sections dedicated to trolling bloggers, endlessly raising ticket prices, and refusing to fire Ernie Grunfeld. Together, this tandem has frustrated their fans for years. If you were required to describe the pair in a single word, you’d be hard pressed to find a better adjective than “unlikeable.” Is it any surprise, then, that after a decade-plus under Ted and Ernie’s stewardship, that this franchise has been exactly that?

The evidence suggests that if the players have established a collective reputation as being loathsome, it’s because they’re taking cues from their leaders. The owner and GM trumpet their own mediocrity, the team does the same. The owner and GM rebuff accountability, the players do the same. The owner and GM lose focus over the course of the season, – you get it by now. And now, with the addition of a couple fan least-favorites, the team is doubling down on being the NBA grouches.

If the Roster Fits.. 

Perhaps it’s a bit harsh to our players to label them as the most undesirable collection of talent in the league. It’s pretty incredible though, once you start to think about the team in this context, how well this roster lends itself to such a scheme. Suddenly, everybody’s role makes sense in a way that it never quite has before. Don’t believe it? Take a look for yourself:


John Wall – John is the preeminent disgruntled All-Star. Who else grumbles as much about what other guys are getting paid, or the fact that he doesn’t get billboards, or that his 2K rating doesn’t meet his expectations? This mean-mugging, gang-sign throwing, spoon-feeding Point God is the anti-Kyrie; the star that hasn’t received his due and isn’t afraid to let everyone know it.

Bradley Beal – With the divisive Wall taking so much flack by himself, you’d think Beal would be universally revered. Instead, he’s taken his fair share of heat for bold comments, poor leadership, and selfish late game play. Then, with John out, he showed he could take the lead on starting drama by starting the “Everybody eats” controversy.

Markieff Morris – Kief, already one of the most T-ed up players in the league, says he needs to add even more “bully ball” to his game. What more needs to be said here?

Otto Porter – Otto is somehow simultaneously the quietest person on team and the most unliked by the team’s stars. With his huge contract, he also creates more disagreement among fans than anyone else on the squad.

Dwight Howard – Dwight is, without doubt, the most hated player in the NBA. Playing on his sixth team in eight years, is there anyone in the league – players, coaches, media, refs – with something good to say about this locker room cancer? Not to mention, Dwight led the league in technical fouls by a wide margin. This addition is the one that pushes the Wizards to the extreme on the unlikability scale.

Austin Rivers – First Rivers incited the entire Houston Rockets to hunt him down in the underbelly of the Staples Center. Then, his own father gave up on him and shipped him out of town. Ouch, this guy must suck to be around.

Kelly Oubre Jr. – Kelly went up against the notoriously dirty Kelly Olynyk in the 2017 playoffs and somehow managed to come out as the less-likable Kelly O.

Tomas Santoransky – It was hard to find much to fault Tomas for last season. He made key contributions and always had a great attitude. In fact, he might’ve been the most likable guy on the team. Maybe that explains why he dropped out of the rotation come playoff time.

Ian Mahinmi – Mahinmi actually seems like a really nice guy – he’s always flashing his big smile, he gives back to the community, he dresses well. Regardless of all this, he’ll always be hated by Wizards fans for suckering Ernie into giving him the worst contract in Wizards history.

Jason Smith – Jason is constantly heralded as one of the best teammates in the NBA. Obviously, he therefore never plays.

Be Who You Are and Be It Well

Having established that Wizards are ready to be the most unlikable team in the NBA, is this transformation something we as fans should actually be rooting for? If the alternative is to continue slogging on as a faceless and toothless underachiever, then yes, absolutely.

The Wizards had a maddeningly uneven year last season – overperforming when they should’ve been overmatched, but then dropping countless games to inferior opponents. A big portion of that inconsistency can be attributed to the team’s identity crisis. The squad’s approach and source of motivation changed from game to game and consequently their intensity level and production fluctuated as well. A commitment to being unlikable may not be the tactic that yields the most feel-good storylines or aesthetically-pleasing basketball, but at least it is a defined tactic.

The Wizards’ record should be markedly better this year simply by virtue of eliminating the emotional instability and role confusion that sprouted from a lack of self-awareness and led to many of last season’s worst losses. From there, it’s not too hard to envision how this newfound identity will translate to a team mentality and style of play that generates more wins:

  1. The Wizards won’t be the most prolific offensive team nor the stingiest defensive one, but they will surely be one of the most physical teams. We’ll see a lot of hard fouls, a good deal of technical fouls, and a fair number of scuffles as this team looks to get in peoples’ faces and under their skin. While that strategy may make for some ugly basketball, it will also keep our team engaged and focused – a consistent problem in years past – for four quarters a game and 82 games a season.
  2. The Wizards are going to talk a lot of trash (per usual) and will hopefully finally back it up for the first time (this would be new).
  3. Like last year, they’re going to be gunning for all the teams anointed as better (i.e. Celtics, Sixers, Warriors) than them and will show up to those high-profile games ready to play.
  4. Unlike last year, they’ll have extra motivation to fuel them to play angry against typical trap opponents (Hawks, Hornets, Suns). Almost a quarter of the schedule will be revenge games for Dwight against his former teams.

In all likelihood, there was nothing strategic or deliberate about the front office assembling the repugnant cast of characters into a team. Still, they appear to recognize what they’ve stumbled upon and are excited about how it will play out for the upcoming season.

On the other hand, it remains to be seen whether the fan base will get behind this new-attitude team. There’s a very real chance that this experiment goes south quickly. That being said, if the Wizards fully embody this identity of being the most unlikable team in the league, they’ll surely give the fans something to like.