Czar Trivia

Copyright 2011 NBAE - Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty ImagesNew team names can be hard for longtime fans to get used to, as basketball enthusiasts in our nation’s capital well know. The Washington Wizards have undergone the most name changes of any franchise in the NBA. The club originated as the Chicago Packers in 1961 when it was added as the NBA’s first modern expansion team following the consolidation of the league from seventeen franchises to eight during the early 1950’s.

After a one-season stint as the Zephyrs (a play on Chicago’s nickname “The Windy City”), owner Dave Tragere moved the franchise to Baltimore, Maryland in 1963 and renamed it the Baltimore Bullets. In 1964 Abe and Irene Pollin (along with former NBA referee Arnold Heft) purchased the Bullets for $1.1 million. When the Pollins became the sole owners in 1968 they moved the team to Washington D.C. And upon completion of the new Capital Centre arena in 1973 the team was called the Capital Bullets.

But in 1974 Abe Pollin changed names once again to the Washington Bullets. This name stuck for over two decades until Pollin made a controversial decision to amend the team’s name for the sixth and final time due to the violent/negative connotation associated with the word “bullet.” A contest was held to choose a new name, and Wizards” wound up winning the telephone poll that allowed callers to vote for their favorite of five finalists: Wizards, Sea Dogs, Dragons, Express and Stallions. The Bullets officially became the Washington Wizards when they moved into the new MCI Center for the 1997-98 season.

On May 10, 2011 the Wizards unveiled their new color scheme, uniforms and logo, reverting to the traditional red, white and blue colors that harken back to the team’s glory days of the late seventies and early eighties. Some diehard fans remain hopeful that a former name may someday be resurrected too.

Czar Trivia

On this day in 1984, #33 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored point number 31,420 with his trademark “sky-hook” shot against the Utah Jazz, breaking Wilt Chamberlain’s record to become the highest-scoring NBA player ever.

Cap retired five years later after scoring 6,967 more points. And he remains the NBA’s all-time leading scorer with 38,387 career points in 20 seasons.

In addition to his six NBA championships, record six regular season MVP Awards, record 19 All-Star appearances and his signature sky-hook, the multi-talented Big Fella will also be remembered for his role as co-pilot Roger Murdock in the 1980 hit comedy Airplane.

Czar Trivia

Picked up a fun fact from the NBA Encyclopedia: There is only one time in the history of professional sports that any player played for both teams in the same game. And that instance occurred in the NBA on this day in 1979, when the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets replayed the final 17:50 of their contest that was originally played on November 8, 1978 due to a protest being upheld.

When the game began on November 8, Harvey Catchings and Ralph Simpson played for the 76ers while Eric Money and Al Skinner played for the Nets. But all four were traded to the opposing teams by the time the Sixers-Nets game was resumed on March 23.

Czar Trivia

This Sunday the eyes of North America, American expats and a growing global audience will be watching Super Bowl XLV in Dallas, along with a hit parade of ads and entertainers. In fact, today’s matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers is expected to surpass last year’s Super Bowl (which drew 106.5 million viewers and usurped the 1983 finale of “M*A*S*H” ) to become the most-watched television program in U.S. history.

I’ve spent most of my career around basketball courts and often wondered how a pro basketball court sizes up against a pro football field.

An NFL field is 360 feet long and 160 feet wide, totaling 57,600 square feet.

An NBA court measures 4,700 square feet.

So, An NBA court would fit 12.25 times into an NFL field.

Czar Trivia

In 1845 Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove flipped a coin to determine who would get to name their new settlement in Oregon. Both wanted to pay homage to their respective hometowns of Boston, Massachusetts and Portland, Maine. Pettygrove won two out of three coin tosses, and the area formerly known as The Clearing became Portland. The Oregon Territory was incorporated into the United States in 1849.