“Wes Unseld, NBA legend with Washington Bullets, dead at 74”
June 2, 2020 | 10:48am
Wes Unseld, an NBA legend with the Washington Bullets who led the franchise to its only championship in 1978, died Tuesday morning following health issues which included pneumonia, his family said. He was 74.
“It is with profound sadness that we share that our adored husband, father and grandfather Wes Unseld passed away peacefully this morning surrounded by family following length health battles, most recently with pneumonia,” Unseld’s family said in a statement released by the Washington Wizards. “He was the rock of our family – an extremely devoted patriarch who reveled in being with his wife, children, friend and teammates.”
Unseld was drafted by the Baltimore Bullets, who later became the Capital Bullets before relocating to Washington, second overall in the 1968 NBA Draft. The 6-foot-7 Hall of Famer won NBA MVP as a rookie and was a five-time All-Star. He earned NBA Finals MVP honors in leading the Bullets to the 1978 championship over the Seattle Supersonics.
“He was our hero and loved playing and working around the game of basketball for the cities of Baltimore and Washington D.C. Cities he proudly wore on his chest for so many years,” his family’s statement said.
Unseld later became vice president of the Washington Bullets in 1981, serving in the position for six years before getting named head coach in 1988. He resigned following the 1994 season, finishing with a 202-345 coaching record, and became the team’s general manager in 1996.
In May 2003, Unseld announced that he was taking a leave of absence to deal with health issues.
One of six players whose number is retired by the Wizards organization, Unseld still holds franchise records in minutes played (35,832) and rebounds (13,769).
Unseld is survived by his daughter Kim, son Wes Jr., daughter-in-law Evelyn, grandchildren Layla and Wes and his wife Connie.
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