The Washington Wizards announced on Tuesday morning the passing of NBA legend Wes Unseld at the age of 74.
The most decorated player in team history, Unseld was the MVP of the league and rookie of the year in 1969. He also led the then-Bullets to the franchises only NBA Championship in 1978.
In addition to his playing career, Unseld was also a coach and GM for Washington. He and his wife, Connie, were married for 50 years.
Wizards majority owner and Monumental Sports & Entertainment CEO Ted Leonsis put out the following statement on Unseld’s passing:
“On behalf of the Wizards organization and the entire MSE Family, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the Unseld family, including his wife Connie, daughter Kimberly, son Wes Jr. and his two grandchildren as well as his large number of extended family and friends,” said Chairman & CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment Ted Leonsis. “We all admired Wes as the pillar of this franchise for so long, but it was his work off the court that will truly leave an impactful legacy and live on through the many people he touched and influenced throughout his life of basketball and beyond.”
In his first season with the Baltimore Bullets in 1968-69, Unseld turned the team around by leading them to 21 more victories than the year prior and the team’s first-ever playoff appearance. His 13.8 point, 18.2 rebounds per game averages in his first season earned him Rookie of the Year and MVP Honors, making him just one of two players in league history (along with Wilt Chamberlain) to win both awards in the same season. He spent all of his 13-seasons in the league with the Bullets franchise
Unseld’s career and accomplishments span off the court as well, as he and his wife, Connie, opened the Unseld’s School in Baltimore in 1978. The school is one of the few fully-accredited, black-owned, non-church-affiliated elementary schools in Maryland, with Connie serving as the principal, his daughter, Kim, serving as one of the primary teachers at the school, and Wes occasionally serving as the bus driver. Unseld’s son, Wes Unseld Jr., currently serves as the lead assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets.
At this time, the family would appreciate privacy as they navigate this difficult loss. In lieu of flowers, we ask that donations be made to the Unseld’s School using this link.