SPRINGFIELD, MASS. – Westly “Wes” Unseld, enshrined as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988, has passed away at the age of 74.
“The Basketball Hall of Fame family mourns the loss and celebrates the life of Wes Unseld,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “He truly loved playing the game and found such joy in passing that love on to the next generation in Baltimore and Washington D.C. Wes will be sincerely missed and we appreciate the impact he had on the game and his community.”
At 6-foot-7-inched and 245-pounds, Unseld was a massive force in a glorious era of NBA centers. Despite chronic knee problems, Unseld always played a physical and incredibly skilled game, with outlet passes to start the fast break that became legendary. As a collegiate athlete, Unseld led Louisville to three postseason appearances. During a solid 13-year NBA career spent entirely with the Bullets organization, Unseld was a five-time All-Star and he retired as the NBA's seventh all-time leading rebounder. In 1969, he became only the second NBA player beside Wilt Chamberlain to be named Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season. In 1978, he and fellow Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes led the Washington Bullets to an NBA championship. For his efforts, Unseld was named the Finals Most Valuable Player.
About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was born, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting, preserving and celebrating the game of basketball at every level – men and women, amateur and professional players, coaches and contributors, both domestically and internationally. The Hall of Fame museum is home to more than 400 inductees and over 40,000 square feet of basketball history. Nearly 200,000 people visit the Hall of Fame museum each year to learn about the game, experience the interactive exhibits and test their skills on the Jerry Colangelo "Court of Dreams." Best known for its annual marquee Enshrinement Ceremony honoring the game’s elite, the Hall of Fame also operates over 70 high school and collegiate competitions annually throughout the country and abroad. For more information on the Basketball Hall of Fame organization, its museum and events, visit www.hoophall.com, follow @hoophall or call 1-877-4HOOPLA.