As the news broke Tuesday morning about the death of Bullets legend and Hall of Famer Wes Unseld, one player with no connection to the Wizards was the first to pay his respects to the five-time All-Star on social media.
Cavaliers forward Kevin Love posted a photo of Unseld on Instagram, expressing his gratitude for the impact that the former NBA champion made on the people he met. One of those people? Stan Love, a former teammate of Unseld who named his son Kevin Wesley Love after the basketball great.
Love, an NBA champion himself, modeled part of his game after his namesake. He adopted the two-handed outlet pass after watching film of Unseld use it to produce fast-break opportunities. As two centers who are among the best rebounders of their era, the pass was a natural fit for their games.
“I’ve never seen an outlet passer like Kevin Love, except when I was kid watching Wes Unseld play,” then-Cavaliers coach David Blatt told The New York Times in 2015.
Of course, the always-humble Unseld was never going to take any credit for the way Love implemented the technique into his game.
“I can’t sit here and pat myself on the back,” Unseld said to the NYT. “That young man has done the work himself.”
Unseld’s memory will live on in many forms, but perhaps one of the most prominent is Love’s approach in transition. Even though he doesn’t have LeBron James or Kyrie Irving to chuck the ball toward anymore, it’s a part of his game that isn’t going anywhere.
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