The Bullets made a little bit of history last night when they raised to the rafters a replica of a jersey worn by Wes Unseld.

Unseld's No. 41 became the first number ever retired by the National Basketball Association franchise. It now hangs, sewn onto a large pennant, right next to the team's 1978 world championship banner at the north end of Capital Centre.

Abe Pollin, the beleaguered owner of the Bullets, was loudly booed when he came to mid-court to introduce his self-acclaimed favorite player at the beginning of the festivities during halftime of the Bullets' loss to Philadelphia.

"This man was the heart and soul of this team for many years," Pollin began. "He was a man whose play and encouragement made it possible for me to wear this championship ring."

Unseld, with his wife Connie, presented a check, given to him by a soft drink company, to Bowie State College's scholarship fund.

"It's a great honor for me to have my jersey retired," the 34-year-old former all-star center said. "I've always worn that jersey with a great deal of pride. I want to thank Mr. Pollin, the coaches and all the guys I played with for a wonderful career.

"Although I'm not playing any longer, I'm still working for the team (as an executive vice president) and doing everything I can to make us a winner. We will bring you another NBA championship, I promise you that."

With that, one of the greatest rebounders ever to play the game turned and walked away, with one remembrance hanging high at the end of the court and another -- a noticeable limp -- probably with him forever.