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Wes Unseld

As a player on May 3, 1988
March 14, 1946 in Louisville, KY
245 pounds


High School:
  • Seneca (KY) High School (1960-64)
High School Playing Highlights:
  • Four-year letter winner
  • All-State (1963, 1964)
  • All-Conference (1962, 1963, 1964)
  • All-District (1962, 1963, 1964)
  • All-Regional (1963, 1964)
  • University of Louisville (1964-68)
College Playing Highlights:
  • Three-year letter winner
  • The Sporting News First Team All-America (1967, 1968)
  • Scored 1,686 points in 82 games (20.6 ppg)
  • Grabbed 1,551 rebounds (18.9 rpg)
  • Averaged 35.8 ppg and 23.6 rpg in 14 games with freshman team (1965)
  • All-Conference (1966, 1967, 1968)
  • Led Louisville to a 60-22 record, two trips to the NCAA Tournament and one trip to the NIT
  • Led conference in rebounding (1966, 1967, 1968)
  • NBA Baltimore Bullets (1968-73)
  • NBA Capital Bullets (1973-74)
  • NBA Washington Bullets (1974-81)
Pro Playing Highlights:
  • NBA Rookie of the Year following a 13.8 ppg, 18.2 rpg debut (1969)
  • All-NBA First Team (1969)
  • NBA MVP (1969), joining Wilt Chamberlain as only players to be named Rookie of the Year and MVP in first season
    NBA Finals MVP (1978)
  • Five-time NBA All-Star (1969, 1971-73, 1975)
  • NBA championship with Washington Bullets (1978)
  • Scored 10,624 points (10.8 ppg) in 984 professional games
  • Washington franchises all-time leading rebounder
  • Retired as seventh best rebounder in history; currently ranks ninth
  • Led the NBA in rebounding in 1975 (1,077, 14.8 rpg) and had eight seasons with 1,000 or more rebounds (1969-73, 1975-76, 1980)
  • Led the NBA in field goal percentage in 1975 (318 of 567, .561)
  • Recipient of the inaugural J. Walter Kennedy Award (1975)
  • One of a select few players in NBA history with 10,000 points and 10,000 rebounds
  • Led in rebounds in 1975 and field goal percentage in 1976
  • 12,769 rebounds rank him seventh all-time (as of 1988)
  • One of 15 (as of 1988) to have 10,000 points/rebounds
  • Upon enshrinement, was Washington's all-time leader in games played (984), minutes played (35,832, 36.4 mpg), assists (3,822) and rebounds
  • NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team (1996)
Pro Coaching:
  • NBA Washington Bullets, assistant coach (1987-Jan. 3, 1988)
  • NBA Washington Bullets (1988-94)
Pro Coaching Highlights:
  • Compiled a 202-345 record
  • Executive Vice President/General Manager, NBA Washington Bullets/Washington Wizards (1996-present)

A bruising six-foot-seven, 245-pound center with an awesome outlet pass and a nose for the ball on offense and defense, Wes Unseld played in a glorious era of NBA centers, and was considered an equal with his counterparts. Despite being troubled by chronic knee problems his entire career, Wes Unseld always played a physical brand of basketball. A two-time All-America at the University of Louisville, Unseld averaged 20.6 points and 18.9 rebounds in 82 collegiate games. His early career plans included becoming a teacher, but that thought was put on hold when he became the second overall pick in the 1968 draft by the NBA's Baltimore Bullets.

In 1969, Unseld's debut was memorable. He became only the second NBA player besides Wilt Chamberlain to be named Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season. During a solid 13-year NBA career spent entirely with the Bullets organization, Unseld became a superb position rebounder and retired as the NBA's seventh all-time leading rebounder with 13,769 boards, a 14.0 per game average. Unseld, who played in five NBA All-Star Games, ranks as the Bullets' all-time leader in minutes played (35,832) and rebounds. He is only one of 20 players in NBA history to score more than 10,000 points (10,624) and grab more than 10,000 rebounds. The pinnacle of Unseld's career came in 1978, when he and fellow Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes led Washington past Seattle for the NBA championship. For his efforts, Unseld was named MVP of the championship series. In 1975, Unseld received the NBA's J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for his community contributions.


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