IT'S pitiful enough when a sports team performs...

Salmagundi

June 15, 1993

IT'S pitiful enough when a sports team performs consistently poorly over a period of many years. It's even worse when the team we have in mind, the Washington Bullets of the National Basketball Association, is still remembered in these parts as an exciting and powerful club during its long-ago Baltimore incarnation.

The Bullets' plight has gotten so bad that one of their latest advertising campaigns focuses not on the home squad but on other good teams that will face Washington at the Capital Centre next season.

"Want to see the Bullets play Barkley and the Suns?" a recent newspaper ad inquires. "Make a fast break for a Bullets Superstars [ticket-buying] plan . . . And you'll lock in seats for sure sell-outs with other NBA superstars and their teams, including Jordan and the Bulls . . . Shaquille and the Magic . . . Ewing and the Knicks . . . "

Sad, isn't it, when other teams have players identifiable by their first or last names only, while a lot of people would have trouble naming one member of the Bullets' current starting five? To name some of the stand-outs from the Baltimore Bullets team of circa 1970 is a far less difficult task. It's hard not to recall a team that included players such as Wes Unseld, Earl Monroe, Gus Johnson and Jack Marin.

Speaking of Wes Unseld, the current head coach of the Bullets is pictured in the newspaper advertisement quoted above. Which suggests the team doesn't have a player more recognizable than the guy calling the plays from the bench.

As we were saying: pitiful.

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