Wizards

Wizards, Beal honor Wes Unseld before Washington's home opener

Wizards

Bradley Beal didn't have too many conversations with the late Wes Unseld, widely regarded as Washington's most heralded player in team history. There was one conversation that really stuck with Beal, though. 

The Wizards, with Beal's help, made sure to celebrate Unseld's life at the first chance they got back in their home building, Capital One Arena, ahead of their second game of the season against the Magic. Beal shared his sentiments on the former MVP, who died June 2, in a prerecorded tribute video the Wizards played before the tip-off of their home opener on Saturday.

"I wish we had more time with him. I briefly had conversations with him," Beal said in the video. "I remember one time specifically he told me to be a mf'er. Go be a dog. So, I'll always remember that. That will always resonate with me."

That's certainly the type of advice that'll resonate, especially coming from another dog like Unseld. 

The team also released another powerful tribute video on Instagram, featuring some of Unseld's teammates like power forward Elvin Hayes and swingman Kevin Grevey. 

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"The greatest to ever put on a Bullets uniform," Beal said. "That 41 is up in the rafters for a reason. He brought a championship here to D.C., and everything he represents and stands for, he was a true pioneer in the game of basketball and for his city."

 

Unseld brought Washington the franchise's only title back in 1978 as the Bullets. Before that, Unseld joined Wilt Chamberlain as the league's only rookies to ever earn MVP honors. He also spent his entire 26-year professional career with the franchise, moving into an executive role before later becoming the team's coach and then general manager after his playing days. 

"For him to be as dominant as he was, to be an unselfish player, dominate on the boards, being able to battle down low, and for him to be the leader he was on that team, it speaks volumes," Beal said. "And for him to be around after he played, be around the city, he would be around us sometimes. His son is still a part of the game, it's really cool to see."

Unseld's bruising style of play down low turned him into the rebounding leader in 1975, and he finished with an impressive stat line of 14.0 rpg, 10.8 ppg, and 3.9 apg. The five-time all-star will always be fondly remembered in the D.C. sports community for what he did on and off the court. 

"He's a legend, he is the legend of D.C. So thank you for all you've done, for your remarkable career," Beal said. "We truly miss you. Thank you, 41."