Wes Unseld’s legacy lives on well beyond the basketball court.
To celebrate the late legend’s 76th birthday, which would have been Monday, the Washington Wizards are partnering with Heart of America to renovate The Unselds’ School in Baltimore. The effort is part of the NBA’s 75th Live, Learn and Play initiative.
Unseld, a Washington Bullets legend who helped the squad win the 1978 NBA championship, opened the school with his wife Connie that very same year. Per the Wizards’ press release, “under the leadership of [daughter] Kim and Connie Unseld, the school is one of the few fully-accredited, Black-owned, non-church-affiliated elementary schools in Maryland, and it continues to serve as a place of learning and development in an underserved region of Baltimore City.”
The Wizards and Heart of America will renovate the school to refurbish an outdoor space used for after-school activities. An unveiling of the completed renovations will be held next month.
Unseld won Rookie of the Year, MVP, and Finals MVP and was named an All-Star five times as a member of the Bullets en route to being inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame and NBA 75th anniversary team. His son, Wes Unseld Jr., continues his legacy as the current Wizards head coach. A bust of Unseld Sr. was recently revealed at Capital One Arena.
“Wes is a lover of learning,” Connie Unseld said as part of the renovation’s announcement. “With the relationship with my husband — both of us being educators — we work collaboratively together. He was hands on: he would drive the bus, he would go on field trips with us, and when he retired, he became a full-time employee.”
The Unselds’ School is perhaps the greatest imprint Wes Sr. made on the Washington-Baltimore area, transcending his on-court contributions. In partnering with Heart of America (a national organization whose specific purpose is to renovate learning spaces), the Wizards will see to it that Unseld’s impact is carried on for decades to come.