To be a fan of the Washington Wizards it takes, patience. To be a fan of the Wizards is to be a fan of what could be the greatest tragedy in the NBA. Just when it seems the franchise may have turned a corner, as Tony Kornheiser would put it, the Curse O’ Les Boulez occurs. What is this curse Kornheiser speaks of? Lets take a brief look at history, shall we?
Lets start with the acquisition of Bernard King.
At one point in time Bernard King was one of the most ferocious scorers in the NBA. Unfortunately by the time he came to the then named Washington Bullets, he was two years removed from ACL surgery. In 1986 having ACL surgery normally meant an end to your career. King was able to bounce back and have a few decent seasons with the Bullets, even reaching an All-Star game, but never returning to the form that made him one of the most feared players in the league.
How about the drafting of Juwan Howard and subsequent trade for Chris Webber in the same offseason.
I remember watching the first game that they played in together in the NBA and being excited that excitement was back in the Washington area for professional basketball. The Bullets [Wizards] became automatically relevant again over night. Hell, they even made it back to playoffs and nobody cared that they were facing Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls going for their fifth championship in seven seasons.
That excitement would short lived as Webber couldn’t stay out of trouble due to the D.C. area nightlife and ended up being shipped out of town for an aging Mitch Richmond and Otis Thorpe.
Who remembers the Bullets claiming the Miami Heat illegally signed Howard to that 100 million dollar contract? The outcome, the Bullets then signing Howard to the same contract crippling the organization for years to come with a player who when even at his best, wasn’t worth a max contract.
The league celebrated Jordan’s return to the NBA as an Executive with the Wizards and even applauded when he decided to return to the court, shamefully it was with the Wizards. Nobody will forgive Jordan for his drafting of Kwame Brown with the number one pick in the draft, though. Brown never adjusted to NBA life after jumping straight from high school breaking down from the emotional beating Jordan and then coach Doug Collins handed him everyday.
We all remember Gilbert Arenas and his freak knee accident. Gerald Wallace tumbling on Gilbert’s knee caused the Wizards to go in a tailspin like never before. Gilbert was never the same after getting his knee operated on multiple times. What complicated matters worse was him signing a $111 million dollar contract the summer of his first knee surgery; once again the franchised crippled it’s self financially. The situation came to a head when Gilbert and little used reserve Javaris Crittenton brought guns in the locker after a dispute over money. The franchise was once again forced to start over.
After trying to build the team around dysfunctional youngsters like Andray Blatche, Javelle McGee, and Nick Young the Wizards finally rid themselves of every player that remained from the Arenas years and begin to focus on building around John Wall, the teams top pick in 2010. We are only in year three of the Wall regime and Wall has yet to take the court due to a knee injury. No one knows when Wall will be able to return to the court but from the looks of things, I’m not sure if he is in a rush to with this team.
After decades of denying it, I say the curse is real.