What a long, strange trip it’s been

The Wizards have pushed through a generation’s worth of dark history this season.

The Wizards of Gilbert Arenas, Larry Hughes and Antawn Jamison can’t possibly appreciate the impact of their accomplishment, this securing of the franchise’s first playoff berth in eight years, with the promise that the team’s best seasons are ahead. They can’t possibly know the murky depths of the past. They can’t possibly understand the horror of it all.

They don’t know something as basic as the following: Pervis Ellison was driving to the eyesore in Landover from his upscale digs in Fort Washington one evening while wrestling with a pregame meal of fried chicken.

This was one multi-task moment that he came to regret as his hands became slick from the chicken’s grease and he lost control of his vehicle and wound up in a ditch.

Result: Strained neck. Out of the lineup.

Ellison, perhaps the only player ever to be felled by greasy fried chicken, was a likeable person with a serious ditz streak in him.

He once missed a game because of a sore back.

The reason: He had spent all afternoon raking leaves at his home.

His home was impressive, too, excluding the lawn furniture he plopped in the rooms.

That is how it was back in the bad old days of this franchise.

Stuff happened. Funny stuff. Crazy stuff. One-in-a-million stuff. Stuff that drove you nuts.

Chris Webber once said Wes Unseld could not relate to him, because Unseld did not know what it meant to be young and talented. Webber’s observation came as news to anyone who recalled Unseld’s unthinkable achievement in 1969: selected as both NBA Rookie of the Year and MVP.

Ah, yes, there always was a clownish element in the locker room.

The sight of Webber dunking the ball in the first quarter and then going into his ugly-face, bad-man pose is indelibly etched in the minds of the faithful. Webber never could grasp the emptiness of celebrating an 18-16 lead in the first quarter. Of course, you could not find Webber with a search party in the last five minutes of a game.

They could have put a tent over this franchise at one point and stationed a barker in front of the arena’s entrance, and not just because of the carnival-like element of the tallest (7-foot-6 Manute Bol) and shortest (5-4 Tyrone Bogues) tandem in the 1987-88 season.

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