History and League Success
The franchise was founded as the NBA's first post-merger expansion team in Chicago, Illinois in 1961 as the Chicago Packers. The choice of team name, though admirable in wanting to honor Chicago's legendary status as a meatpacking center, was not surprisingly poorly received, since in Chicago the citizens connect Packers with the Green Bay Packers, the long-time rival of the Chicago Bears. Thus, they changed their name to the Chicago Zephyrs the following year.
However, financial issues led the team to relocate to Baltimore in 1963 and rename themselves as the Baltimore Bullets (the name was to honor a prior NBA franchise in the city which had previously folded, which itself was taken from the name of a local landmark that had produced small lead balls commonly used in shotguns, but used for non-lethal purposes as well). A decade later they decided to move to the suburban DC area, and renamed themselves as the Capital Bullets for one season before changing their name to the Washington Bullets later that season.
In 1995, over concerns about violent crime levels in Washington DC, they adopted a strategy of political correctness and decided to change the "Bullets" name; when they moved into their current arena in 1997 they renamed as the Wizards.
The team has appeared in two NBA Finals and won one title, as the Bullets in 1978.
NBA Southeast Division Rivals
Official Team Website