Are the Washington Wizards From Washington, Maryland, or D.C.?

The Washington Wizards basketball team has a long tenure in the NBA. They may not be an elite franchise, but the team has a rich history loaded with great players and a loyal fan base.

However, any newer fans may not understand exactly where the Wizards play based on their name alone. Are they from Washington, D.C., or somewhere nearby (like Maryland or Virginia)? Or are they from the state of Washington, like the Seattle Supersonics before them? Since the name doesn’t state clearly where they play, you may have to do a little digging to uncover their true location. 

Here’s a brief history of the team, followed by an answer to the question of where they play. 

The history of the Washington Wizards

The Washington Wizards logo seen during a game against the Boston Celtics at Capital One Arena in Washington D.C.
Washington Wizards logo | Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

According to NBA, the Wizards started playing in 1961 as the Chicago Packers. The team then moved to Baltimore before moving to Washington. In Baltimore and Washington D.C., it adopted the nickname of the Bullets. The team defeated the Seattle Supersonics for their first and only franchise NBA title during the 1977-1978 season. 

In 1997, the team officially changed its name to the Washington Wizards to disassociate itself with the gun violence that the name Bullets conjured. The team has been known as that since. The franchise has struggled to be a consistent playoff threat in recent years, though it’s had some great players in the franchise’s history. A few of those include Wes Unseld, Chris Webber, Rod Strickland, Gilbert Arenas, John Wall, and Bradley Beal.  

Where are the Washington Wizards based? 

The Washington Wizards don’t play in Washington state. The team plays in Washington, D.C. When the team moved from Baltimore, games were played in Landover, Maryland, though they claimed the D.C. metropolitan area as home. The Wizards would later move to downtown D.C. where they still play today. 

The Wizards haven’t been super successful as a franchise for the last 20-30 years but are still ingrained in D.C.’s culture. While the team didn’t make the playoffs this year, there’s a reason for optimism. Behind Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis, and Kyle Kuzma, the team has plenty of talent. If they can coalesce next season, the Wizards could be a threat in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. 

While that answers the question of where the Wizards play, it doesn’t address the fact that the Washington Wizards aren’t the only team with a name that might leave their location tough to figure out.

The Wizards aren’t the only sports franchise with a confusing name

If you’ve ever wondered where the Washington Wizards play, you may find some other team names confusing. Without the District of Columbia referenced in the name, it can be easy to confuse the Wizards for a team that plays in the state of Washington. They’re far from the only team that has a somewhat confusing moniker. 

Take, for example, the Kansas City Royals or the Kansas City Chiefs. A brief glance by someone without a working knowledge of the U.S. would lead that person to believe they play in the state of Kansas. However, their home state is actually Missouri – there just happens to be a Kansas City in Missouri that both teams play in. It’s apparently a mistake many people make, even powerful politicians. According to the Guardian, former President Donald Trump congratulated the state of Kansas after the Chiefs won the Super Bowl a few years ago. 

Additionally, look at the New York Giants and New York Jets. They both play in New York, right? Incorrect – both of these teams call their home city East Rutherford, New Jersey, where their stadium sits. They have New York in their names due to their association with the New York metropolitan area. 

RELATED: Michael Jordan ‘Poisoned the Locker Room’ so Badly His Wizards Teammates Refused to Buy Him a Retirement Gift