Don’t expect the Washington Wizards to revert to their previous nickname — thanks in part to Gilbert Arenas.
Joe Dupriest, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Monumental Sports & Entertainment, told SportsBusiness Daily the team will “probably not” return to being known as the Bullets.
“There are certain instances in the last few years with certain players that I think are going to prevent that,” Dupriest told SBD, apparently referring to the December 2009 incident in which Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton brandished handguns in the locker room after a dispute over a card game.
Both players eventually were suspended for the balance of the 2009 season — Arenas missed 50 games, Crittenton 38 — and in a statement of support for the NBA’s discipline of the pair, the Wizards referenced late owner Abe Pollin’s 1997 decision to rename the team based on his “abhorrence to gun violence” in the community.
Still, nostalgia for the team’s original nickname remains, and Dupriest said the organization will continue to market throwback gear to tap that market.
“I don’t see us changing the name to the Bullets,” he told SBD. “But I see us using the Bullets with the Wizards mark and using that history a lot more.”