We'd like to share a story posted today by Darren Rovell:
Wes Unseld died today.
And remarkably, the world he lived in still exists.
In 1963, as a 17-year-old black man, Unseld went to a civil rights demonstration in his home town of Louisville, where he was spat on.
He was the first black player to even get a look at Adolph Rupp’s University of Kentucky, though Unseld said it wasn’t a real effort. And support was hardly unanimous. As he approached his decision, a package arrived in his name at his high school from a Kentucky supporter. He opened it up. There was a dead chicken inside.
Unseld went to Louisville instead and brought them to as high as No. 2 in the nation. Had he gone to Kentucky, the Wildcats would have likely defeated the team from Texas Western in the 1966 NCAA Finals. The fact that the all-black team won turned out to be one of the single biggest developments for race and sports.
Wes Unseld won both NBA Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same year. He never got the credit he deserved, mostly because he didn’t ask for it or covet it. His Hall of Fame speech in 1988 was one of the shortest ever. He talked for less than three minutes.
But we will remember you, Wes. And we’ll also try to figure out how to build a world that you never got to see. RIP, gentle giant.