Wes Unseld, who died Tuesday at the age of 74, spent more than three decades in the NBA as a player, coach and executive. He helped lead the then-Washington Bullets to their only NBA championship in 1978, earning Finals MVP honors. He, along with Wilt Chamberlain, is one of two players to win the league’s MVP award in his rookie season, and he was named one of the league’s 50 Greatest Players during the NBA’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Unseld’s impact stretched far beyond the court and the NBA world shared its condolences on social media upon learning of his death.
Statement from the family of Wes Unseld.
Rest easy, Wes ♥️ pic.twitter.com/NwEtuofgG9
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) June 2, 2020
Wes Unseld was a great leader, a dedicated family man and a tremendous human being – My deepest sympathies & condolences to the Unseld family – Wes will always be remembered & greatly missed | @WashWizards | @MSE https://t.co/Y3oddvbb28
— Ted Leonsis (@TedLeonsis) June 2, 2020
We have lost a true legend of the game.
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of assistant coach Wes Unseld Jr. following the death of his father. https://t.co/KAU32uTslo
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) June 2, 2020
Wes Unseld was one of the finest people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. He was my friend, my Kentucky homeboy, and my coach. Heartbreaking.
The gentlest of giants.
Rest, Wes.🏀❤️🌎 pic.twitter.com/5ZSj1zVRQh
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) June 2, 2020
Wes Unseld was my first hero. The first basketball camp I attended was his camp at the age of 9. The memories and lessons stuck with me. When I became a GM it was surreal to be scouting on the road with him. He was a great player, but a better person. RIP Wes Unseld. pic.twitter.com/8WjI7tLTOW
— Billy King (@bkdefend) June 2, 2020
Wes Unseld was a warrior! He was The shortest starting center in the NBA, and was also the toughest. So sound fundamentally, when he blocked you out for he would put you in the third row! With all due respect to Darrell G, Wes will always be the greatest U of L Cardinal. pic.twitter.com/RORaa9bKRP
— Dan Issel (@DanIssel44) June 2, 2020
RIP WES UNSELD! 😢
BULLETS LEGEND forever.
— Bradley Beal (@RealDealBeal23) June 2, 2020
RIP to Hall of Famer Wes Unseld, who passed away at the age of 74. Unseld was a legend at Louisville and in the NBA, and one of the greatest rebounders and outlet passers of all-time. Toughness personified. pic.twitter.com/nyusmRPXs4
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) June 2, 2020