In 1995, Abe Pollin, then-owner of the Washington Bullets, announced that he had become increasingly uncomfortable with the team's name, particularly since Washington, D.C., like many large cities, was beset by gun violence. A contest was held to find a new name, and by 1997 the Bullets had become the Wizards. While some people would like to have kept the old name, the whole process was relatively painless.
Today, another of Washington's sports teams is facing increasing controversy over its name. The main difference is that Dan Snyder, the owner of the Redskins (and someone widely reviled in Washington for a whole host of reasons), is adamant that as long as he owns the team, it will never, ever, ever change its name.