Throwback Thursday: Rookie Rarities

VIDEO: Wes Unseld Tribute

Welcome to Throwback Thursday here on the All Ball Blog. Each week, we’ll delve into the NBA’s photo archives and uncover a topic and some great images from way back when. Hit us up here if you have suggestions for a future TBT on All Ball. Suggestions are always welcome!

Today’s Topic: Rookie Rarities

On March 24, 1969, the legendary Wes Unseld became the second player in NBA history to win the Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year award in the same season (Wilt Chamberlain also accomplished the feat in 1960). Unseld led the Baltimore Bullets into the playoffs with averages of 13.8 ppg and 18.2 rpg.

To honor Unseld, we look back at some other Rookie of the Year award rarities including the youngest to win it,  the first team to have back-to-back winners, the four foreign-born players to win the award and more!

(NOTE: Click the “caption” icon below the photo for details about each moment.)

Gallery: Throwback Thursday: Rookie Rarities

Which of these rarities do you think is the most impressive? Leave your comments below!


  1. lbj says:

    Being MVP and a rookie of the year won’t give you another ring, you need to join Miami Heat and be a personal manicurist for our KING, THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME LeBron James.

    • lbj says:

      you got me this one. Too quick to first post in the comment. But what I always said we need a throwback not only Thursday but from Sunday to Saturday from our king LEBron!

    • meow says:

      get a life man, you’re just intentionally trying to give LeBron fans a bad name ffs

  2. GoGSW says:

    There should be Monta Ellis and Stephan Curry in there.#letsgowarriors

  3. Teid says:

    @lbj top lel. Lebron James greatest of all time? I dont know if I should cry or die; stupid comment. Magic, Bird and Jordan is the trinity of greatness, not to forget Russell, West, Havlicek, McHale, Malone, Stockton etc. James isnt even a pebble. lmao

    • skrutz says:

      Dont respond to him. Every article, every comment, its always this. I have a feeling he’s trolling to rally the LBJ hating crowd.

  4. nasus01 says:

    I’m not sure if there’s a test that scores in his range, but I’m guessing that commenter ‘lbj’ has an IQ somewhere south of his shoe size. I’m new to all this, but does he ALWAYS hit his head while jumping on the LeBron bandwagon??

  5. lbj says:

    Having an afro like West Unsold will not win you a ring. You need to join Miami Heat and shave the hair from King James armpits and superglue them to you head. Then will you win a Ring with LEBRON!

  6. adiraven says:

    You cannot talk rookie rarities without mentioning Wilt.

  7. Alex H says:

    How can you not put Damian L on that list. Unanimous Rookie of the year over some really good players. Great first season, 2nd year all star and competed in all events in the all star game and having a great second season on a good Portland team. Shame on you NBA…

  8. dustydreamnz says:

    Some amazing rebounding numbers!

  9. Clint says:

    Well, I think Jordan is obviously the best of all time.

    My top 5

    1. Micheal Jordan
    2. Kobe Bryant
    3. Magic Johnson
    4. Larry Bird
    5. Lebron James.

    He will prob end up being the 2nd best after his career is though

  10. Teid2 says:

    @Teid I think you’d better die now. lol You just can’t accept the fact that at his age now, his receiving more awards than other players

  11. JM says:

    No MJ? Come on…

  12. Arnold says:

    I’m so sorry for lbj… Lebron needed to change the team to win a ring, I don’t think he’s even in the actual NBA’s Top 5. And just for you to know, if you think that win a MVP and a Rookie of the Year award ins’t enough, let me tell you something: Lebron has 4 MVPs but only 2 titles, and if titles is all that matters, he still has a lot of work to do yet.

  13. Selt says:

    Umm Where’s MJ? 28.2ppg in his rookie year

  14. kevin says:

    rookie of the years..and no jordan…uhhh..really

  15. R-Lo says:

    lbj is a total troll on The jig is up, time for some new material. Earl Boykins for President!

  16. tangyat says:

    @lbj! man u need to have friends