The Washington Wizards franchise has gone through a series of cities and team names. The franchise came into being as the Chicago Packers in 1961, and was briefly known as the Chicago Zephyrs. In 1963, the team moved to Baltimore and became the Bullets, and finally settled in DC in 1973. During the 1970s, the Bullets advanced to the NBA Finals four times, winning their only championship in 1978 led by Finals MVP Wes Unseld.
The team moved into the MCI Center (now Verizon Center) in 1997. That same year, after a citywide contest conducted by owner Abe Pollin, “Wizards” became the new team name. Michael Jordan joined the team for his final two seasons in the NBA in the early 2000s, and the franchise experienced a renaissance with stars Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler soon after. The future looks bright for the Wizards with young star point guard John Wall leading the way.
The Wizards call the Verizon Center home, located in the heart of Downtown/Penn Quarter/Chinatown and the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro stop. The venue features numerous amenities, including the Player’s Club, a 5,000 square-foot members-only space that will give your group the ultimate VIP experience. Papa John’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and Hard Times Café are great options for when your hunger strikes during the game.
The Downtown/Penn Quarter/Chinatown neighborhood surrounding Verizon Center abounds with pre and post-game options. Seventh Street is a DC thoroughfare, featuring numerous hot spots for dining and nightlife. Clyde’s of Gallery Place and Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant are popular spots to grab a drink and a bite to eat. If you’re looking for a more high-end dining experience, Zengo, Ping Pong Dim Sum and Jaleo are all within walking distance of Verizon Center as well.
Single game tickets for the Wizards can be purchased online through Ticketmaster. The Wizards use Dynamic Pricing, which adjusts single game ticket prices in real time as the season progresses. Partial Plans are also available and are sold in 21, 13, and 5 game packages. Season ticket packages start at affordable prices and include fantastic benefits. The Wizards also offer Group Tickets, allowing you to purchase seats en masse if you plan on bringing the whole family or a group of friends to the game.
Verizon Center is conveniently located immediately next to the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro station. This station serves as a transfer hub, as the green, yellow and red Metro lines run through it. The Verizon Center does not offer public parking for Wizards games (except for those who are disabled), so riding Metro is highly encouraged. However, there are public parking garages available in the area as well as limited street parking. Visit www.godcgo.com for more information.
- Wes Unseld, one of the most famous members of the Washington Bullets from 1968-1981, is one of only two players in the history of the NBA to win NBA MVP honors as a rookie.
- A portion of the Chris Rock film, "Head of State," was filmed at Verizon Center in 2003.
- The “Wizards” became the team name the same year that the team began playing their home games at Verizon Center.
- Abe Pollin, longtime owner of the Washington Wizards until his death in 2009, also owned the NHL’s Washington Capitals and WNBA’s Washington Mystics. He is credited with helping revitalize DC’s downtown area with his financing of the Verizon Center.