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NBA Star Wes Unseld Dies at 74 after Series of Health Issues – Look into His Life and Career

Claudine Varela
Jun 04, 2020
09:16 A.M.
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Wes Unseld was an exceptional man in and outside the NBA court as his family and former teammates revealed following his death.

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NBA Hall of Famer Wes Unseld has died at the age of 74. He passed away in his home on Tuesday according to his family.

Unseld had been battling several ailments for years before he succumbed to pneumonia. In a statement, on Twitter, his family assured that he died peacefully and surrounded by his loved ones.

Wes Unseld, #41 of the Washington Bullets in a game against the Boston Celtics in 1976. | Photo: Getty Images

Wes Unseld, #41 of the Washington Bullets in a game against the Boston Celtics in 1976. | Photo: Getty Images

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“He was the rock of our family, an extremely devoted patriarch who revealed in being with his wife, children, friends, and teammates,” the statement added of Unseld who played for the Baltimore Bullets (now known as the Washington Wizards) during his career with the NBA.

Unseld is survived by his wife of 50 years, Connie, daughter Kim, and son, Wes along with his grandchildren. He also left behind a community of students attending the Unselds’ school in Baltimore.

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Remembering Unseld after his death, his contemporary, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar described him as “a roadblock on the basketball court.”

But apart from his colorful career, Unseld is greatly remembered by his teammates for his work outside the court.

With his towering height of 6’7”, Unseld made it impossible to position for a rebound. According to his former teammate, Jon Fleischaker, though Unseld was never a scorer, it never bothered him one bit.

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Unseld holds the distinction of being one of only two NBA rookies to attain the Most Valuable Player Award alongside Wilt Chamberlain. He also led the Bullets to 12 playoffs and one NBA title in 1978.

But apart from his colorful career, Unseld is greatly remembered by his teammates for his work off-court. For decades, he ran a school in Baltimore with his wife.

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His former teammate, Bobby Dandridge, speaking on Chris Miller's podcast, believes this is “greater than any rebound or shot that he ever made.” Adding to this, Phil Chenier said,

“Wes evidently was like the jack of all trades over there. He was the janitor, the security person, the maintenance man; he did it all. And he did it proudly and humbly, and I think it speaks to the character."

Wes Unseld as head coach of the Washington Bullets during a game in Sacramento in February 1989. | Photo: Getty Images

Wes Unseld as head coach of the Washington Bullets during a game in Sacramento in February 1989. | Photo: Getty Images

Unseld’s family promised that they would later share details about how they intend to celebrate the NBA star’s life. In the meantime, they asked for privacy as they mourn his death.

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