Antedating of Safire and OED on "Slam Dunk"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jun 14 14:32:52 UTC 2004

At 8:02 AM -0400 6/14/04, David Bowie wrote:
>From:    Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>: The context appears to have been the annual NBA all-star game between
>: the West(ern Conference), including Jerry West of the L.A. Lakers and
>: Lew Alcindor (of the Milwaukee Bucks at the time, later Kareem Abdul
>: Jabbar of the Lakers), and the East(ern Conference), including Wes
>: Unseld of the Washington Bullets.   The Kennebec Journal just
>                 ^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^
>: assimilated poor Wes Unseld to all those  Wests.
>Erm, that'd be the *Baltimore* Bullets. Once i learned that the Bullets had
>started out in Baltimore, the name made more sense to me--alliteration and
>all that.

Pardon the Interruption, but they started out in the Windy City, as
the Chicago Zephyrs (named after the politicians who...just kidding).
I thought I should offer a mea culpa--I've been thinking lately about
the Washington Bullets' Man-O-War-like upset via sweep at the hands
of the Golden State Warriors in '75, which was a couple of years
after they had moved down from Baltimore to Landover.  But I was also
thinking that when the franchise won their one and only championship,
in their Washington Bullets incarnation, it was back in the Unseld
days, which it was, but I had forgotten that those days included the
end of the Baltimore Bullets era (through 1972-73), the short-lived
Capital Bullets era (1973-74), and then the start of the Washington
Bullets era (from 1974 until the magic transformation into the
Wizards), including the championship series in 1977-78 and 1978-79
vs. Seattle, the former of which they won.

>Of course, now they're the Washington Wizards, in a desperate attempt to
>keep the alliteration.

Well, technically, also prompted by their owner's invocation of taboo
avoidance against the use of the Bullets nickname in Washington, D.C.

>My favorite name for the team, though, is the
>Washington Buzzards, keeping bits of both names, which (making this,
>astonishingly enough, on-topic for the list) i've even seen in print--one of
>Tony Kornheiser's columns in the Washington _Post_, IIRC, though it might
>have been Mike Wilbon.
"Buzzards" is nice, but they've been going hungry lately--not enough
carrion to carry on, it would appear.


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