Wizards and Heart of America unveil refurbishments at The Unselds' School
On Wednesday, the Wizards and Heart of America completed and unveiled renovations at The Unselds’ School in Baltimore, MD., part of the NBA75 Live, Learn and Play initiative celebrating decades of league history in a milestone season and its teams’ connections to their local communities.
Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE) Founder, Chairman & CEO Ted Leonsis, Wizards president and general manager Tommy Sheppard and Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. – as well as dozens of Wizards staff members – were on hand for the event. The event capped off weeks of renovations to the school grounds, including painting the campus outdoor space, planting flowers in the gardens, building new picnic tables and refreshing the school’s interior with new furniture and much more.
After the renovations were completed, representatives from MSE, the Wizards, Heart of America, the Unselds’ School and the Baltimore City Council addressed the group.
“We talk about equity of education and equity of opportunities and that’s what this school is all about,” Leonsis said. “It’s incumbent on all of us – the NBA, Monumental Sports, the Wizards, the community, the parents and the volunteers – to keep this school growing and thriving because of what it stands for in this neighborhood.”
The Unselds’ school was founded in 1978 by NBA legend and one of the greatest players in franchise history, Wes Unseld, and his wife, Connie Unseld. The Unselds have overseen the school’s operations since it’s founding. Kim Unseld, daughter of Wes Sr. and Connie Unseld, currently serves as the school’s principal. Under the leadership of Kim and Connie, 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.
“This is about my mom and her vision,” said Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. “To sustain for 40-plus years her life’s mission to impact lives. We always talk about reinvesting and we think dollars – it’s about reinvestment in kids and giving them opportunities. I think it’s an unbelievable thing for her to continue to see her vision play out and impact lives and see generation after generation come back to where it started.”
Near the end of the address, school principal Kim Unseld shared her gratitude for all those who contributed their time and money to the project, including Leonsis, the NBA and Heart of America, before turning her attention toward her students.
“To my students…look around,” Kim said. “You are surrounded by individuals who are investing not only in your future, but they are investing in theirs through you. Don’t let them down. Pick up and run. Soar. Do what we would love for you to do best. Succeed. We know you will.”
Part of the renovations taking place across the campus include an outdoor space where students play and participate in after-school activities. The new space includes additional seating, asphalt murals, learning gardens, and eco-friendly equipment. The inclusion of low-maintenance and native plants and a city skyline mural will help create an engaging and inspiring outdoor haven for students and families. The renovations also include a transformed parent lounge and meeting area and a refreshed basketball courtyard, as well as updated school signage.
“I’m excited for the students, for the leadership here at The Unselds’ School,” said Heart of America president and CEO Jill Heath. “They will have new spaces to come into and that excitement within them is something that is so needed to continue to motivate them during challenging times. We need to come together as a community and lift these students and leaders up and let them know we care.”
“This is an incredible opportunity to give back to a family that has really meant so much to our franchise history,” said Wizards senior vice president of marketing Rebecca Winn. “What a legacy to have the school in the Unselds’ name. We really just want to help them continue their mission of education in the Baltimore area.”
Following Wes Unseld’s passing in 2020, the Wizards opened a scholarship fund in conjunction with The Unselds’ School for local children to attend. Fans interested in supporting the school can do so by visiting this LINK.
The leaguewide NBA 75th Live, Learn or Play initiative will create and dedicate more than 50 new Live, Learn or Play Centers during the 2021-22 season. These new spaces will further the NBA family’s collective goal to create opportunities that help propel the next generation of leaders and provide support for historically marginalized communities.