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Wes Unseld

Wes Unseld (1946–2020), legendary Washington Bullets center

by Kirk Fox

Wes Unseld was a legendary Hall of Fame center for the Washington Bullets who was one of only two players in NBA history to win rookie of the year and MVP in the same season.  

  • Died: Tuesday, June 2, 2020 (Who else died on June 2?) 
  • Details of Death: Died at the age of 74 from pneumonia.   
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NBA Star

Unseld was drafted out of Louisville by the NBA’s Bullets in 1968 and played center for the team in Baltimore and Washington D.C. until his retirement in 1981. He led the Bullets to their only NBA championship in 1978 over the Seattle Supersonics and was named the finals MVP. Unseld was shorter than most centers at 6-feet-7-inches but was a hard-working rebounder, averaging over 14 a game, and has the most rebounds in NBA history for a player under 6-foot-8. He was a five-time All-Star and a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. After playing, he coached the Bullets from 1987 until 1994. 

Unseld on his tenacity on the court  

“I know that night in and night out the guy I play against will have more physical ability. But I feel like if I go out against a guy and play him 40 or 48 minutes, toe to toe, head to head, he is going to get tired or beat up or bored for two or three minutes. That will be enough to make sure he doesn’t win the game for his team.” —From the Washington Post

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What they said about him

Full Obituary: Washington Post

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