The Wizards and Mystics are both set to wear No. 41 jersey patches honoring the legacy of Wes Unseld, who passed away last month. On Thursday, several members of the Wizards shared their pride in being able to celebrate the greatest player in Wizards/Bullets history.
Since Unseld played in the 70s and 80s, no one on the Wizards watched him play live. But they have all heard stories while playing for the Wizards and while running in NBA circles.
"I saw some tapes of him and heard some stories of him," Ish Smith said. "None of us know how great he really was and what that patch truly represents. So, we're going to try to wear it with as much pride as we can."
Guard Jerian Grant is now a member of the Wizards after growing up in the area and the son of a Washington player, Harvey Grant. The younger Grant spent time around the organization as a kid and recalls seeing Unseld around. Unseld actually coached his father in the early 90s for the Bullets.
"My mom talked to me about it a little bit and was close to their family," Grant said. "I go way back with the Wizards. For their family to hurt and my family to hurt at the same time is definitely something that I look at."
Head coach Scott Brooks met Unseld once. He ran into him in an elevator and shook his hand. Brooks remembered how big Unseld was and the strength of his famous handshake.
"His hand just covered my entire body. I just thought 'wow, if I had to get through his screen.' Just a big man," Brooks said.
Brooks marveled at Unseld's accomplishment of winning rookie of the year and the MVP award in the same season. He is one of only two players to accomplish the feat.
"I can't imagine that will ever, ever happen again," Brooks said. "It is an honor that both teams will honor him with the jersey patch. It's well-deserved."
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