For those of you that know me or follow me on Twitter, you know I have just two favorite teams — my Jacksonville Jaguars and the Washington Wizards. It’s a weird combination, right? On the surface I suppose it is, but I can explain.
I’ve been a diehard Jaguars fan ever since I can remember, but the question has always been, ‘how does a young child growing up in suburban Washington, DC grow up a Jacksonville Jaguars fan?’ Even I have no idea. . . but I did, and to this day I still have a bunch of old Jaguars shirts and jerseys in my closet from when I was about six years old to prove it. Then as I grew older, my fandom for the team became a crazed fanaticism and possible obsession depending on who you ask — and I haven’t changed, just last August I left Maryland (the only place I’ve ever called home) and transferred to a college in Jacksonville just to be a season ticket holder.
However, up until about two years ago, the Jaguars were the only team I cared about. Don’t get me wrong though, I played pretty much every sport growing up; I’ve always watched college football every Saturday; I love March Madness; I’ve followed the NBA since I was in elementary school; and I at one point was a fantasy baseball addict. I love sports and always have, but I never had a team outside of my Jaguars that I was a fan of.
And then came the Wizards.
While my Jaguars fandom is near impossible to explain outside of it just being fate, you’d think the story of how I became a Wizards fan would be easy. I grew up in Maryland and went to high school roughly five miles outside of Washington, DC. It all makes sense, right? Well, kinda.
My path to becoming a Washington Wizards fan started during the 2010 draft in my annual fantasy basketball league. It’s a keeper league where every season, each team gets to keep three players on their roster from one year to the next. I had my three keepers and was looking at who I should draft with my first pick. . . and that’s where I stumbled upon John Wall. I had watched Wall in his one season at Kentucky and I had read all about his sensational summer league performance. Naturally, I was drawn to his upside and I selected him with my first draft pick. And later on in the draft, I picked both Andray Blatche and Nick Young based purely on coincidence — not because they were both Wizards players at the time.
Fast forward a few months and that’s where this story picks up.
During my winter break from college it dawned on me that I could watch three of my players — Wall, Blatche, and Young — on local TV. At first, I lost interest if those three weren’t on the court and I only watched for selfish purposes, hoping to see John Wall set up Andray Blatche or Nick Young for jump shots, so they could help me in my fantasy league. However, it didn’t take me long to realize that Andray Blatche shooting the basketball or Nick Young isolating and chucking up shots were actually terrible things. Right there and then, my transformation from an observer to a fan was happening, and soon it became a rarity for me to miss a Wizards game on TV. For the remainder of the 2010-2011 season I was a fan, and that has continued to present day.
While drafting Andray Blatche and Nick Young was a mistake on my part for my fantasy basketball team, it actually turned out to be a pretty good decision in the long run.