Located in the nation’s capital, the Verizon Center is the home of the Washington Wizards. The Wizards have been part of Washington DC’s sports scene since 1973 after moving from Baltimore. Once moving to DC the team, originally known as the Bullets played at the Capital Center, a 18,000 seat facility for 24 seasons. Located in Landover, MD by the 1990s the Bullets and the Washington Capitals (NHL) who shared the Capital Center wanted a new state of the art arena built in Washington DC.
Construction began in October 1995 and the $260 million facility was financed using private loans. MCI Communications bought the naming rights to the arena, thus it was originally known as the MCI Center. In 2006 the MCI Center was renamed the Verizon Center after Verizon acquired MCI Communications.
FACTS & FIGURES
-Tenants: Washington Wizards (NBA), Washington Capitals (NHL)
-Cost: $260 million
-Architect: Ellerbe Becket
-Address: 601 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004
-Former Name(s): MCI Center
Not only did the team move into a new arena in 1997, they changed their name from the Washington Bullets to the Wizards. On December 2, 1997, the Wizards played their first game at the Verizon Center against the Seattle Supersonics. Located in Chinatown, the Verizon Center has a seating capacity of 20,173 that includes 110 luxury suites, six executive suites and 3,000 club seats. Fans attending games can visit the Sports Gallery and Hall of Fame to check out basketball memorabilia. The Verizon Center has several amenities including the Acla Club Restaurant, Johnnie Walker Coaches Club and the Dewar’s 12 Clubhouse. Not only is the Verizon Center home of the Wizards but is home to the Washington Capitals (NHL) and many other events.
About the Washington Wizards
Location: The Washington Wizards are a professional basketball team based in Washington, D.C.
History: The Wizards were founded in 1961 as the Chicago Packers and later became the Chicago Zephyrs. The team was then relocated to Baltimore, becoming the Baltimore Bullets and eventually the Washington Bullets. In 1997, the team changed its name to the Washington Wizards.
Key Players: The Wizards have had several notable players over the years, including Earl Monroe, Wes Unseld, Elvin Hayes, and Michael Jordan.
“The Big Three”: In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Wizards had a talented trio of players in Rod Strickland, Juwan Howard, and Chris Webber, known as “The Big Three.”
John Wall: John Wall is one of the Wizards’ all-time greats, having played for the team from 2010 to 2018. Wall was a five-time All-Star and known for his speed and agility on the court.
Bradley Beal: Bradley Beal is one of the current stars of the Wizards, having been with the team since 2012. Beal is a two-time All-Star and one of the top scorers in the league.
Capital One Arena: The Wizards play their home games at Capital One Arena, located in the heart of Washington, D.C.
Community Outreach: The Wizards are active in the community, with programs such as the Wizards Care charity, which focuses on education, health, and wellness initiatives for children and families in the Washington, D.C. area.