Former NBA MVP Wes Unseld dies at 74


The Unseld family released a statement on the legendary player through the Washington Wizards.

After finishing his senior season as a consensus All-American selection in Louisville, Unseld was drafted by the Baltimore Bullets with the second overall pick in 1968.

Unseld was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1988.

"He was the rock of our family - an extremely devoted patriarch who reveled in being with his wife, children, friends and teammates", the family's statement read.

The University of Louisville product entered the National Basketball Association as a No. 2 overall pick of the Bullets - who were in Baltimore at the time - back in 1968 and immediately established himself as one of the top rebounders in the league, averaging 13.8 points and 18.6 rebounds per game during his rookie campaign.

In his first season in Baltimore, he guided the team to a 57-25 record - 21 more wins than the prior year - and led the Bullets to their first-ever playoff appearance. He was a tenacious rebounder and strong passer.

The others with MVP and Finals MVP to their names: Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kevin Durant, Moses Malone, Dirk Nowitzki, Bill Walton and Willis Reed.

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He averaged 20.6 points and 18.9 rebounds over his four years with the Cardinals.

As a player, Unseld seemed to have been chiseled from a block of granite, with a stoic demeanor and an iron resolve to win.

During his 13-year National Basketball Association career, all with the Bullets, Unseld piled up many accomplishments.

In 1981, Unseld's No. 41 became the Washington franchise's first number to be retired.

Unseld is survived by his son, daughter, daughter-in-law, grandchildren and wife of 50 years, Connie.

"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", Leonsis said.

Unseld initially worked in Washington's front office, then was head coach for almost seven seasons from 1987-94, compiling a 202-345 record with one playoff appearance. He resigned following the 1994 season, finishing with a 202-345 coaching record, and became the team's general manager in 1996.