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Wes Unseld
Position(s) Center/Forward
Jersey #(s) 41
Listed height 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
Listed weight 245 lb (111 kg)
Born March 14, 1946 (1946-03-14) (age 63)
Louisville, Kentucky
Career information
Year(s) 1968–1981
NBA Draft 1968 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2
College University of Louisville
Professional team(s)
Career stats (NBA and/or ABA)
Points     10,624
Rebounds     13,769
Assists     3,822
Stats @
Career highlights and awards
Basketball Hall of Fame as player

Westley Sissel "Wes" Unseld (born March 14, 1946 in Louisville, Kentucky) is an American former basketball player. He spent his entire NBA career with the Baltimore/Capital/Washington Bullets, and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988.


Early life and college career

Unseld starred on a Seneca High School team that won two state championships. In 1965, Unseld began playing center for the University of Louisville, where he averaged 35.8 points per game and 23.6 rebounds per game in 14 games with a freshman team. He was a 3-year letter winner, scored 1,686 points in 82 games (20.6 points per game), grabbed 1,551 rebounds (18.9 rebounds per game), led the conference in rebounding in 1966, 1967 and 1968, and led Louisville to a 60-22 record with two trips to the NCAA tournament and one trip to the NIT tournament. Unseld is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans.

NBA years

Unseld was drafted by the Kentucky Colonels in the 1968 American Basketball Association draft and was drafted second overall in the first round by the Baltimore Bullets in 1968,[1] and helped lead the Bullets (who had finished in last place in the Eastern division the previous year) to a 57-25 record and a division title. Unseld averaged 18.2 rebounds per game that year, and became only the second player ever to win both Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player in the same season (Wilt Chamberlain being the first). Unseld was also named the Sporting News MVP that year. He was one of the best defensive players of his era, and in 1975, he led the NBA in rebounding. The following season, he led the NBA in field goal percentage with a .561 percentage.

Famed for his rebounding, bone-jarring picks and ability to ignite a fast break with his crisp, accurate outlet passes, Unseld made up for his lack of size (6’7”) with brute strength and sheer determination. Unseld took the Bullets franchise to four NBA Finals, and won the championship in 1978 over the Seattle SuperSonics, in which he was named the Finals MVP. He ended his playing career following the 1980–1981 season, and his #41 jersey was retired by the Bullets shortly thereafter.

Hall of Fame

In 1988, Unseld was enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame, and in 1996, he was named as one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players of all time.[2]

General manager and head coach

After his retirement in 1981 he moved into a front office position with the Bullets where he served as vice president for six years before being named head coach in 1987. His tenure as coach was nowhere near as successful as his playing career, and he resigned following the 1994 season with a 202–345 record (.369). Unseld became Washington's General Manager in 1996 and guided the team to the playoffs only once during his tenure.

Post NBA career

Unseld now operates a private school which started in 1979 in Baltimore, Maryland, where both his wife, Constance, and his daughter, Kimberley, work as the school's teachers. [1] The school has an infant and toddlers program and continues to the 8th grade.


External links

Preceded by
Earl Monroe
NBA Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Lew Alcindor
Preceded by
Wilt Chamberlain
NBA Most Valuable Player
Succeeded by
Willis Reed
Preceded by
Bill Walton
NBA Finals Most Valuable Player
Succeeded by
Dennis Johnson
Preceded by
Kevin Loughery
Washington Bullets Head Coach
Succeeded by
Jim Lynam


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