Known as the Washington Wizards since 1997, this Eastern Conference NBA team goes back to 1961 when it was known as the Chicago Packers, moving to Baltimore in 1963 and changing its name to the Bullets (I guess they never saw The Wire coming), then moving to Washington in 1974. As the Bullets the team won the championship in 1978 and as the Wizards they are best known for hosting Michael Jordan’s twenty-third un-retirement. Yesterday, the Wizards unveiled new uniforms and secondary logos that hark back to their look of decades past. The uniforms and marks have been designed in collaboration with their apparel provider, adidas.
The Wizards’ new red, white and blue coloration aligns the team with the other Monumental Sports & Entertainment properties, including the NHL’s Washington Capitals and WNBA’s Washington Mystics. The red, white and blue palette also recognizes the team’s home in the nation’s capital and helps reconnect the organization to its proud past.
With the color shift, the team introduced two new secondary logos. One of the new marks is a lowercase “dc,” with the upright tip of the “d” opening as a hand—a direct link to the “i’s” in the former all lowercase Washington Bullets logo. The connection to the past mark is deepened by the hand reaching for a ball, which was a key element of the past script logo of the Bullets.
The other secondary logo is a basketball with the image of the Washington Monument integrated into its channels and a topped with a star, combining the game of basketball with a pair of iconic symbols of Washington, DC, and the United States of America.
In addition to the two new secondary marks, the team also unveiled a modified primary logo. The refreshed “Wizards and moon” mark is highlighted by the new red, white and blue color scheme as well as a modified font and tweaks to the structure of the logo.
— Press Release
I’m not a fan of the team’s wizard-on-a-moon concoction but acknowledging that it’s not going anywhere, this new version is a good improvement, taking up less horizontal space and increasing the readability of all the different elements.
The new alternate marks are quite bad. The hand coming out of the “d” is simply too ridiculous and it carries none of that 1970s vintage irony that makes 1970s vintage looks work. The Washington Monument ball looks as if it came from another team altogether, with a swoopy and stylish look that clashes against the angularity of everything else. As an icon by itself, perhaps for a league of Washington-based basketball teams it would be fine, but as part of this package it has nothing to do here.
They went Washington Monument-happy with their wordmarks, turning any ascender into the pointy structure. They also went crazy with serifs and inverted serifs everywhere. Then there is all lowercase and all uppercase variations so as to not establish any kind of consistency.
The uniforms look nice though.
Don’t get me wrong, I prefer this new look much more than the previous pale blue one but the execution of everything is so dumbed down that it’s difficult to get excited about it, even when they’ve gone retro which, arguably, can be a good thing. Where the original Bullets had bang, these Wizards are shooting blanks.