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NBA Championship Trophy Left In Closet For Years

NBA Trophy
Ronald Martinez, Getty Images

Instead of spending their entire careers chasing after the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, NBA players, coaches and owners should just check their employees’ closets. That’s where the title the Washington Bullets won in 1978 was hiding for years.

The franchise, which has since been renamed the Wizards, showcased the reclaimed hardware during a reunion of the 1977-78 Bullets’ NBA championship team this weekend.

When Washington Wizards’ owner Ted Leonsis took over the franchise in 2010, he wanted to see the trophy the team won in 1978, however no one knew where it was. It turned out that a since-deceased building manager had taken the title home to keep it safe several years prior, and it was still in a closet at his house years after his death.

“They bring it in,” Leonsis said, “and it’s got dings in it, it’s matted, not shiny… and I said, ‘Look at this – this is what we spend a billion dollars over our lifetime to try to win, and it’s been sitting in someone’s closet.”

Leonsis had Tiffany’s spruce up the trophy, and the Wizards now display it in a glass case in the team’s home inside the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Maybe the title can bring back the Bullets’ mojo, too. Since becoming the Wizards in 1997, the franchise has won only one playoff series, beating the Chicago Bulls in 2005.

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