Basketball legend Wes Unseld has died

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The Washington Wizards mourn the passing of franchise and NBA legend Wes Unseld. Universally considered the greatest player in franchise history, Unseld led the then-Bullets to the NBA Championship in 1978. He was 74 years old.

“On behalf of the Wizards organization and the entire MSE Family, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the Unseld family, including his wife Connie, daughter Kimberly, son Wes Jr. and his two grandchildren as well as his large number of extended family and friends,” said Chairman & CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment Ted Leonsis. “We all admired Wes as the pillar of this franchise for so long, but it was his work off the court that will truly leave an impactful legacy and live on through the many people he touched and influenced throughout his life of basketball and beyond.”

Unseld was drafted by the Baltimore Bullets with the second overall pick in 1968 out of Louisville, where he finished his senior season as a consensus All-American selection. In his first season in Baltimore in 1968-69, Unseld turned the Bullets around by leading them to 21 more victories than the year prior and the team’s first ever playoff appearance. His 13.8 point, 18.2 rebound per game averages in his first season earned him Rookie of the Year and MVP Honors, making him just one of two players in league history (along with Wilt Chamberlain) to win both awards in the same season.

“Those of us who were fortunate enough to spend time with Wes knew him as a generous and thoughtful man whose strong will was matched only by his passion and drive for uplifting others,” said Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard. “His physical prowess, undeniable talent and on-court demeanor may have struck fear in opponents throughout the NBA but he will be remembered best as a mentor, leader and friend.”

The 6-7 center was the rock of the Bullets’ success in the 70’s, spending his entire 13-year career with the team. Unseld helped lead Baltimore to five consecutive playoff appearances and continued the streak when the team moved to Washington in 1973. In all, the Bullets would make 12 straight playoff appearances during his career, including four Finals trips and the franchise’s championship run in 1978, when they defeated the Seattle Supersonics in seven games to take the ring. Unseld was voted Finals MVP, averaging 9.0 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists during the championship series.

“Wes was truly a gentle giant,” said Phil Chenier. “His scowl could be intimidating but really he was a kind, thoughtful and protective comrade. Wes is the epitome of a great teammate, team leader and friend.”

A five-time All-Star selection, Unseld appeared in a franchise-record 984 games, averaging 10.8 points, 14.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists over his career. Despite being undersized at the center position, Unseld was known for his relentlessness in the paint and bruising nature, as well as his outlet passing and screening ability. He was inducted into The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1988 and was voted as a top 50 player in league history in 1996. Unseld’s number 41 jersey was retired in 1981 and is currently one of five jerseys hanging in the rafters at Capital One Arena.

“I lost a great friend and teammate this morning who went 十大玩彩信誉平台 to Christ,” said Elvin Hayes. “Know we all had great love for both you and your family always my friend.”

Following his retirement in 1981, Unseld immediately moved into a front office role with the Bullets, first serving as vice president of the team from 1981-87. In 1988, Unseld took over as head coach, leading an 8-19 team to a 30-25 finish and trip to the playoffs. Unseld coached until 1994, winning 202 games – the second-most by a coach in franchise history. Unseld returned to a front office position in 1996, serving as General Manager until 2003 (excluding a brief one-year stint as Michael Jordan took over the duties).

“Wes was a true champion whose contributions in the Baltimore and Washington communities will affect generations,” said Executive Director of the Bullets & Wizards Alumni Association Bobby Dandridge.

Unseld’s career and accomplishments span off the court as well, as he and his wife, Connie, opened the Unselds’ School in Baltimore in 1978. The school is one of the few fully-accredited, black-owned, non-church-affiliated elementary schools in Maryland, with Connie serving as the principal, his daughter, Kim, serving as one of the primary teachers at the school, and Wes occasionally serving as the bus driver. Unseld’s son, Wes Unseld Jr., currently serves as the lead assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets.

“Robert, Jim and I are heartbroken,” said Irene Pollin. “Since 1968, Wes was the broad shoulders upon which our team was built, and his Hall of Fame career and the championship that he helped bring our city speaks for itself. But for us, the loss of Wes is more than that. He and the Unselds are family to us, and when you lose a family member – especially a beloved figure like Wes – the sorrow is unfathomable. We extend our prayers to Connie, Kim, Wes, Jr. and the entire Unseld family. We love you and we loved Wes with all of our hearts.”

STATEMENT FROM THE UNSELD FAMILY

It is with profound sadness that we share that our adored husband, father and grandfather Wes Unseld passed away peacefully this morning surrounded by family following lengthy health battles, most recently with pneumonia. He was the rock of our family – an extremely devoted patriarch who reveled in being with his wife, children, friends and teammates. He was our hero and loved playing and working around the game of basketball for the cities of Baltimore and Washington D.C., cities he proudly wore on his chest for so many years.

His legacy lives on in the family he treasured – his daughter Kim, son Wes, daughter-in-law Evelyn, grandchildren Layla and Wes and the love of his life for 50 years, his wife Connie – and in the community through the Unselds’ School, where the entire family contributed to enriching the lives of Baltimore’s youth.

We would like to thank everyone who knew and loved him, personally and professionally, for their support during this loss. We will share information in the near future about how we will celebrate Wes’ incredible life.

At this time, the family would appreciate privacy as we navigate this difficult loss. In lieu of flowers, we ask that donations be made to the Unselds’ School using the following link: http://monumentalsports.formstack.com/forms/wesunseldschool.

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Blazers team chemistry in the early 90’s was special

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Here’s touching upon a fun time in Portland Trail Blazers history:

Rip City has so many fond memories and moments that come to mind when looking back at the 1989-92 Trail Blazers seasons.

The early 90s teams were special on the court, no doubt, but their bond off the court may have been even more special.

“Those were fun times,” Terry Porter reminisced on NBA TV’s Trail Blazers documentary, ‘Rip City Revival.’ “There’s nothing like playing professional sports. You build a bond, a brotherhood, a willingness to protect each other, and you always have that.” …

During Portland’s 1989–90 campaign, the team posted a 59–23 record. They defeated the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, and Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference playoffs, before ultimately losing to the defending-champion Detroit Pistons.

With Neil Funk soon to retire, Bulls hire Adam Amin as new TV play-by-play broadcaster

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In Chicago Bulls news, the team has hired Adam Amin as their new primary TV play-by-play broadcaster.

Amin will succeed Neil Funk, who is retiring his headset when the 2019-20 NBA regular season ends.

Alongside Amin will be Bulls TV analyst Stacey King on the exclusive 十大玩彩信誉平台 of Bulls basketball, NBC Sports Chicago, starting in the 购彩信誉平台-21 season.

“We knew replacing Neil would not be an easy task, but as we got to know Adam over the last two seasons and became even more familiar with his work, he rose to become our top choice,” said team President and COO Michael Reinsdorf. “Adam knows our fans because he grew up a Bulls fan. That was important to us. We wanted to find someone who not only had the talent, but who also understood our history and the role the Bulls play in the lives of our city and our fans. When he and Stacey worked together, we received so much positive feedback that I know our fans are going to really enjoy the work of this new broadcast duo. Adam brings strong credentials to this role, as well as an energy, charisma and innate storytelling ability that help him immediately connect with his audience whether he’s behind a microphone, at an event or on social media. He’s a perfect fit as our new TV play-by-play announcer to call the next generation of Bulls games, and we’re thrilled that he’s joining the Bulls family.”

“Adam is a rising star in the sports broadcasting industry and, even though he will have big shoes to fill in replacing a legend like Neil, he will be an excellent addition to our Bulls telecasts beginning next season,” added Kevin Cross, Senior Vice President/General Manager, NBC Sports Chicago. “Adam is a proud Chicagoan who has a deep understanding of the team’s history and the enormous impact they have on their local, national and global fan base. We look forward to having Adam on our team.”

“The experience of filling in for Mr. Funk gave me a glimpse of what it’s like to work with such an exceptional group of professionals inside the Bulls organization and NBC Sports Chicago,” said Amin. “To have the privilege of joining the Chicago Bulls broadcast team is way beyond a dream coming true. The little kid sitting on the floor of his parents’ basement watching Bulls games could never have imagined this. I am absolutely ecstatic and truly grateful to the organization for trusting me with this opportunity.”

Amin is starting his first season as a play-by-play announcer for FOX Sports’ NFL and MLB coverage, and he will continue in this role while serving as the lead TV voice for the Bulls. For Bulls games that Amin is absent, a substitute Bulls play-by-play announcer will be assigned.

Before joining FOX, Amin spent nine years at ESPN where he covered a multitude of high-profile sports and events across multiple mediums.

In-development Timberwolves would benefit if season continues

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The NBA is currently deciding how to proceed regarding resuming play, possibly as early as mid or late July. It sounds increasingly likely that at the very least, we’ll hopefully get a 2019-20 postseason.

The Minneapolis :

If the Wolves are part of a restart, though, the main benefit would be a chance for the revamped Wolves — who dramatically made over their roster a month before the shutdown, adding D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and a host of other players — to play together and gather momentum toward next season.

We’re all rooting for NBA play to resume. Which will only happen if the world in and out of sports becomes more and more safe.

Dallas Mavericks practice facility will open May 28

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The Dallas Mavericks, in compliance with NBA guidance and working closely with team medical professionals, will open their practice facility for voluntary player workouts beginning Thursday, May 28.

Mavericks players may choose to access the practice facility as per protocols established by the NBA and local health officials.

All Mavericks facilities remain closed to non-essential staff, media and the public until further notice.

Three Bulls players who could benefit from the NBA resuming the 2019-20 season

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NBA play has been on hold since mid March. In the next week or two, we could get word on if the 2019-20 season will resume, possibly by late July. Here’s the Chicago reporting on some Bulls players who might benefit from regular season play resuming, as opposed to being cancelled:

Three Bulls that would most benefit from a restart:

1. Coby White — The rookie is unbeaten as the starting point guard, earning the nod against Cleveland just before the coronavirus shutdown hit the NBA. Five to 10 more games could at least show the new front office that White does have solid enough point guard skills that they could look at a different position when the draft does take place.

2. Lauri Markkanen — Last we left the 7-foot enigma, he was unhappy with the current structure of his own organization. That was reported by multiple media outlets, including the Sun-Times. A big part of that structure has changed in the front office, however, and more could be on the way with the coaching staff.

3. Otto Porter Jr. — The veteran forward makes the Bulls better when he plays. The record and stats back that up. The problem is he has seldom played since being acquired last season, and needs to start showing some reliability.

The Bulls were nowhere near a playoff team this season. But one idea being floated around is a play-in tournament that might give all 30 squads a shot at the postseason.

Dwyane Wade has some advice for NFL quarterback Tua Tagovailoa

Advice on being a pro athlete from retired NBA star Dwyane Wade is worth listening to. Even if it’s for a guy who plays football. Here’s the reporting:

The three-time champion wasn’t drafted to “save the franchise,” but expectations certainly changed after the Heat’s first title in 2006. Throw in the two that he won in the early 2010s and there’s an argument that Tua Tagovailoa should strive to emulate Wade rather than Dan Marino.

But greatness can easily be hindered if you get caught up in the glitz and glamour of Miami. In a recent conversation with ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe, Wade advised 22-year-old quarterback to focus on winning first rather than what the city has to offer.

“Put your head down and go to work. The city of Miami is going to be there, the nightlife is going to be there, the endorsements and all of those things — get your money but don’t let those things take away from your main goal and purpose,” Wade told ESPN. “… Football right now for you in that city is the most important thing. Everything else will come as you win”

Famed Miami nightlife is both a gift and a curse. Depending on how much you take advantage of it, and when you have to wake up for work the next day.

Knicks hire Brock Aller, Walt Perrin and Frank Zanin; sign Scott Perry to extension

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The New York Knicks made following hirings today: Brock Aller as vice president, basketball and strategic planning, Walt Perrin as assistant general manager in college scouting, and Frank Zanin as assistant general manager in pro scouting.

The Knicks also signed general manager Scott Perry to extension, through the 购彩信誉平台-21 season.

“We have assembled a diverse front office comprised of highly regarded and experienced basketball executives who have influenced some of the most successful players and organizations in the league,” Knicks President Leon Rose said. “These additions will complement the structure we already have in place and assist us in acquiring talent and developing strategies to build a team our fans can be proud of.”

Per the New York Post, “the hirings of Aller, Perrin and Zanin puts the futures of current basketball operations staffers Gerald Madkins, Harold Ellis and capologist Michael Arcieri in serious doubt. Their contracts expire in August and all were hired by Perry — with Ellis known as a key hard-working facilitator in trade talks. It is all but assured player developmental chief Craig Robinson is on the way out too. Robinson was added by former president Steve Mills as they are both former Princeton teammates.”

Aller joins the Knicks after spending seven seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers in various roles. After four seasons as the team’s senior director, strategic planning, he was named senior director of basketball operations for the Cavaliers in July 2017. Aller played a key front office role in the Cavaliers 2016 NBA Championship run, which ended Cleveland’s major league championship drought after 52 years. Prior to his time in Cleveland, Aller spent nine years (2005-14) in Detroit working directly with Dan Gilbert and Cavaliers ownership as a liaison and advisor on business and basketball operations.

Perrin joins the Knicks after spending 19 seasons with the Utah Jazz, the last 12 years as vice president of player personnel. Perrin’s responsibilities included evaluating players on all levels and assisting the general manager with potential player acquisitions. Perrin assisted the Jazz in drafting All-Stars such as Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap and Deron Williams. He also acquired All-Stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell in separate draft day trades with the Denver Nuggets. During Perrin’s tenure, Utah won three divisional titles and qualified for the playoffs nine times, including a trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2006-07. Prior to joining the Jazz, Perrin spent time with the Detroit Pistons (1993-02) and Minnesota Timberwolves (1991-93) in various roles including assistant coach and director of scouting.

Zanin joins the Knicks after three years as a pro scout with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He previously served as the assistant general manager for the Brooklyn Nets (2013-16), where he began his tenure with the team as a pro personnel scout (2010-12) and then director of player procurement (2012-13). In his four seasons with Brooklyn/New Jersey the Nets qualified for the playoffs three times. Prior to joining the Nets, he spent nine seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers in a variety of roles including video intern (1999-00), video coordinator (2000-03), advance scout/assistant coach (2003-06) and pro personnel scout (2006-08). During his tenure with Philadelphia the 76ers made the playoffs six times including advancing to the NBA Finals in 2001.

Pelicans just outside playoffs in NBA West

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Here’s the New Orleans on the Pelicans’ situation, which right now involves missing the playoffs unless the regular season does resume. Which it might, unless the league decides to go straight to the playoffs. Unless, of course, the remainder of 2019-20 gets cancelled. All of those options are on the table, for now.

The Pelicans — who at 28-36 are in 10th place in the Western Conference — are rooting for anything that doesn’t involve going straight to the postseason. They trail the Memphis Grizzlies, who are in eighth place, by 3½ games.

Earlier this month, Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said he is hopeful that his team would get enough games “to do some damage in.”

“We want to play meaningful games, and if we can be put in that position, we’d be grateful,” Griffin said. “I think it will be difficult for the league to have us come back into the facility and get ready for – let’s call it a month to get physically ready, and then play only a week or two weeks of games. So I think unless they’re able to give us a full schedule, they won’t have us come back.”

The league is currently examining a plan to resume action possibly in July, possibly, in a single location: Disney Wide World of Sports, in Orlando. A decision on that should come in the next few weeks.

A look back at the 76ers trade for Wilt Chamberlain

Here’s with their take on what might be the best trade in 76ers team history:

Connie Dierking, Paul Neumann, Lee Shaffer and cash to the San Francisco Warriors for Wilt Chamberlain:

Shaffer retired shortly after the trade, while Dierking and Neumann both had some solid NBA years left. Neither player, however, was in Chamberlain’s stratosphere. Chamberlain averaged 27.6 points, 23.9 rebounds and 6.8 assists in three-plus seasons as a Sixer, winning the championship in 1967. He probably shouldn’t have been dealt for anything less than multiple All-Stars — or perhaps an All-Star and a heap of first-round picks — but the Warriors were struggling financially and gave up a player who’d led the league in scoring for five consecutive seasons.

It would be cool for more Wilt footage to pop up someday, somehow.