Wizards

Quick Links

Tim Legler remembers hero, friend and former colleague Wes Unseld

Tim Legler remembers hero, friend and former colleague Wes Unseld

Former Bullets player Tim Legler has felt the impact Wes Unseld made on basketball and this world in a variety of ways.

He grew up a Bullets fan, spending his early years split between Richmond, VA and Baltimore, MD. He later became an NBA player and spent four seasons in Washington where Unseld ran the front office. And through their working relationship, they became long-time friends, staying in touch over the years.

Legler joined the 'Wizards Talk' podcast for an upcoming episode to share memories of Unseld, who passed away this week at the age of 74.

"I remember going to my very first basketball camp when I was 12 years old. I had a t-shirt that I got and I dyed it Bullets colors and I put Unseld on the back of it," he said.

"One of the very first times I remember crying over a sporting event was when the Bullets lost to the Supersonices in the [NBA Finals]. It broke my heart. Now, here you are on charted flights with this guy, you're on buses with him, you're at practice with him, you're getting a chance to know him on a human level. Honestly man, I was pinching myself."

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WIZARDS TALK PODCAST

Legler knew Unseld the player as an enforcer who was as feared as anyone who played during his era of the 1970s. But as Legler got to know the Hall of Famer personally, he realized there was much more to him than the tough exterior.

"The thing I will always remember about Wes Unseld is that to me he is epitome of what you would label a gentle giant because he was a mountain of a man. He's one of the strongest physical specimens that has ever stepped on the floor and an NBA court," Legler said.

"But he had the biggest heart. He was a kind man, he was a respectful person. He always treated me and my family great, and every other person I saw Wes Unseld come in contact with. So he went beyond whether you regarded him as a basketball player or basketball executive."

Legler added he was deeply affected by Unseld's passing. Though Unseld's health had declined in recent years, it took him by surprise when he saw the news.

"It was a gut-punch, no doubt," he said. "It takes your breath away for a second because immediately you are transported back to that time."

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

Wizards players react to teammates contracting coronavirus

Wizards players react to teammates contracting coronavirus

Though the percentages may be lower for young, well-conditioned athletes, coronavirus remains a real threat to NBA players and the Washington Wizards were served a reminder of that this week with the reported positive tests for Thomas Bryant and Gary Payton II.

Forward Troy Brown Jr., who is close with Bryant, said he has talked to his friend and teammate since he came down with Covid-19. He believes Bryant will be able to join the team in Orlando before too long.

"I talked to him a little bit. It's just more so day by day," Brown said. "I don't think it was anything other than just him doing normal stuff [when he contracted it]."

Guard Jerome Robinson is with the Wizards at Disney World, taking their team flight down on July 7. But he says the decision to play was not a simple one.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WIZARDS TALK PODCAST

Robinson felt uneasy about the risk of being around people and playing basketball during the worldwide pandemic.

"There was some thought [of not going]. For the most part, for me my concerns were just the safety of it all. It's a deadly virus and we don't have a vaccine," he explained.

"It was kind of scary being around my family and things like that. I don't want to get put in a circumstance where we all get it our I get it or things of that nature, [especially] any elder. The biggest thing is how can we be safe during this whole thing."

Robinson is 23 years old and an NBA player in tip-top shape. But he has read enough of the news to realize, though the odds are lower, the possibility remains for someone of his age and health to be affected by the virus.

"Even us, being young people, you don't want to be that one because it can happen. It's a deadly virus and it's something that we have to take seriously," he said.

Stay connected to the Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

 

Quick Links

Scott Brooks, Wizards adjusting quickly to life in the NBA's bubble

Scott Brooks, Wizards adjusting quickly to life in the NBA's bubble

They began with 36 hours in quarantine, a day-and-a-half of just sitting in their hotel rooms at Disney World, waiting to get to work as the NBA aims to resume and finish the 2019-20 season.

Wizards forward Isaac Bonga talked to his friends on the phone and played XBOX. Head coach Scott Brooks FaceTimed his family. Guard Ish Smith marveled at how similar his hotel room was to the one he stayed in last summer at Disney World.

They had just arrived to Orlando, FL from Washington, D.C. for the NBA's restart. They had to wait those 36 hours and test negative for coronavirus twice before going free.

"The forced relaxation drove me crazy. It was the weirdest thing," Brooks said.

The Wizards were eventually let out of their rooms and on Thursday held their first practice at Disney World; a 5 p.m. get-together that featured real, live basketball, the type they had abstained from for weeks at their training facility due to social distancing protocol.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WIZARDS TALK PODCAST

They were missing a few players and not just the previously established absences of John Wall, Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans; their three best players. Thomas Bryant, Gary Payton II and Garrison Mathews were all reportedly away from the team; the first due to coronavirus and Mathews because of personal reasons.

RELATED: ISH SMITH GRADES BUBBLE FOOD

Still, getting out in the open floor and scrimmaging was a major step for the Wizards as they look towards July 31, their first regular season game.

"I thought the practice was outstanding. I was real concerned because we hadn't done anything live," Brooks said.

"I don't know how they did it, how the NBA was able to get it all done. Our facility here, our gym is pretty incredible. The weight room is amazing. The hotels are great. Everything is good. I have no complaints. It's just like a road trip for us."

"It just felt good to be out there," Smith said. "It was very similar to a normal practice that we would have, just coaches have gloves and masks on."

What happens on the court, the NBA hopes, should feel familiar. It's off-the-court that will require the biggest adjustment, as everyone there will be away from their families for an extended period of time and in an environment intended to stop the spread of a worldwide pandemic.

But the early returns from the Wizards were good. They are pleasantly surprised with the situation so far.

"Look, we get to play basketball. To me, it's like going away to basketball camp," Brooks said.

Stay connected to the Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: