Wes Unseld, a Hall of Fame center known for indefatigable rebounding who was named most valuable player after the Washington Bullets won the 1978 N.B.A. championship, died on Tuesday. He was 74.
His family confirmed the death in a statement posted on on the website of the Washington Wizards, as the Bullets are now known, saying he had had pneumonia among other health problems. The statement did not say where he died.
Unseld, a consensus All-American player at the University of Louisville, was drafted by the Baltimore Bullets, as the team was known at the time, in the second round of the 1968 N.B.A. draft.
Undersize for a center at 6 feet 7 inches tall but rock-solid on the court and known for bruising picks and pinpoint outlet passes, Unseld helped turn the Bullets around. He led the team to the playoffs in 1969, averaging 13.8 points and 18.2 rebounds per game, and was named rookie of the year and the league’s most valuable player that season. (Wilt Chamberlain is the only other player to win both honors in the same season.)
Unseld spent his entire 13-season career with the Bullets, leading them to 12 playoff appearances, scoring a total of 10,624 points and snaring a staggering 13,769 rebounds. He had career averages of 10.8 points and 14 rebounds per game. A five-time All-Star, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988.
A complete obituary will be posted soon.