The NBA released a list of the 75 greatest players in league history to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the association this week. Former Washington Bullets legends Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes were among the 75 players included on the prestigious list. There are technically 76 players listed in total due to a tie.
In addition to Unseld and Hayes, fellow former Washington greats Michael Jordan, Earl ‘The Pearl’ Monroe and Moses Malone were also on the list. Russell Westbrook, who helped lead the team to the playoffs last season, was also included.
Unseld and Hayes are widely regarded as two of the best players in league history, helping the Bullets win the 1978 NBA Championship under head coach Dick Motta. Unseld would often dish outlet passes to the fast-breaking Hayes after nabbing a rebound. The Bullets’ counterattack style was a huge reason they were able to beat the Supersonics for the title.
Unseld’s contributions to the franchise were commemorated with a bust in Capital One Arena Thursday afternoon. Unseld’s son, Wes Unseld Jr., was named the head coach of the Wizards over the summer. Unseld Jr. won his debut game against the Raptors on Wednesday 98-83, becoming the fifth Washington coach of the last six to win their first game in charge.
Hayes, his No. 11 hanging in the rafters along with Unseld, Monroe and others, is currently the 11th-highest scorer in NBA history. He played for Washington for nine years en route to putting up 27,313 total points.
Earl ‘The Pearl’ Monroe spent four seasons as a Baltimore Bullet, winning Rookie of the Year in 1968 and garnering two all-star nods. He just founded a school in the Bronx borough of New York City teaching kids the ins and outs of the business side of sports.
Moses Malone, Michael Jordan, and Russell Westbrook are mostly known for their contributions to other teams. Nonetheless, they all helped build Washington into a force to be reckoned with during their days with the franchise.