BALTIMORE (WJZ) — NBA legend Wes Unseld died Tuesday morning after battling multiple health issues, his family said in a statement.
The former Baltimore and Washington Bullets forward played 13 seasons in the league all with the franchise, staying with the organization as it moved from Baltimore to Washington in the early 70s.
In the statement, Unseld’s family said, in part:
“He was the rock of our family — an extremely devoted patriarch who reveled in being with his wife, children, friends and teammates,. 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.”
— Mark Viviano (@MarkWJZ) June 2, 2020
The Louisville, Kentucky native was the second overall pick by the Bullets in the 1968 Draft. He would go on to win the league’s Most Valuable Player award in his rookie season, joining Wilt Chamberlain as the only two players to accomplish that feat. He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988.
A five-time NBA All-Star, Unseld took home the Finals MVP award for his performance in the 1978 Finals in which the Bullets defeated the Seattle Supersonics in seven games. He retired from playing in 1981 and then went on to serve as vice president for the team for six years before becoming the head coach in 1988.
As a coach, he held a 202-345 record over seven seasons, leading the Bullets to the playoffs in his first season in 1987-88 after he took over 17 games into the season. He resigned following the 1994 season before returning to the franchise as general manager in 1996. He served in that role from ’96 through 2003 with the team making the playoffs once in his tenure.
His wife Connie opened the Unselds School, a coed private school in southwest Baltimore, in 1979. She and their daughter served as teachers, while Unseld worked as the office manager and head basketball coach.