Lenny Wilkens

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Lenny Wilkens
Lenny Wilkens 1968.jpeg
Personal information
Born(1937-10-28) October 28, 1937 (age 77)
Brooklyn, New York
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Listed weight180 lb (82 kg)
Career information
High schoolBoys (Brooklyn, New York)
CollegeProvidence (1957–1960)
NBA draft1960 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6th overall
Selected by the St. Louis Hawks
Pro career1960–1975
PositionPoint guard
Number32, 15, 14, 19, 17
Career history
As player:
19601968St. Louis Hawks
19681972Seattle SuperSonics
19721974Cleveland Cavaliers
1974–1975Portland Trail Blazers
As coach:
1969–1972Seattle SuperSonics
1974–1976Portland Trail Blazers
19771985Seattle SuperSonics
19861993Cleveland Cavaliers
19932000Atlanta Hawks
20002003Toronto Raptors
20042005New York Knicks
Career highlights and awards

As player:

As coach:

Career statistics
Points17,772 (16.5 ppg)
Rebounds5,030 (4.7 rpg)
Assists7,211 (6.7 apg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
Basketball Hall of Fame as coach
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006
 
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Lenny Wilkens
Lenny Wilkens 1968.jpeg
Personal information
Born(1937-10-28) October 28, 1937 (age 77)
Brooklyn, New York
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Listed weight180 lb (82 kg)
Career information
High schoolBoys (Brooklyn, New York)
CollegeProvidence (1957–1960)
NBA draft1960 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6th overall
Selected by the St. Louis Hawks
Pro career1960–1975
PositionPoint guard
Number32, 15, 14, 19, 17
Career history
As player:
19601968St. Louis Hawks
19681972Seattle SuperSonics
19721974Cleveland Cavaliers
1974–1975Portland Trail Blazers
As coach:
1969–1972Seattle SuperSonics
1974–1976Portland Trail Blazers
19771985Seattle SuperSonics
19861993Cleveland Cavaliers
19932000Atlanta Hawks
20002003Toronto Raptors
20042005New York Knicks
Career highlights and awards

As player:

As coach:

Career statistics
Points17,772 (16.5 ppg)
Rebounds5,030 (4.7 rpg)
Assists7,211 (6.7 apg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
Basketball Hall of Fame as coach
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

Leonard Randolph "Lenny" Wilkens (born October 28, 1937) is an American retired basketball player and coach in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He has been inducted three times into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, first in 1989 as a player, as a coach in 1998, and as part of the 1992 United States Olympic "Dream Team", for which he was an assistant coach. From the 1994–95 season until the 2009–10 season, Wilkens was the winningest coach in NBA history and retired still holding the record at 1,332 victories. Wilkens is now second on the list behind Don Nelson. He won the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award for the 2010-11 NBA season.[1]

Early life[edit]

Wilkens grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.[2] His father was African American and his mother was Irish.[3] Wilkens was raised in the Roman Catholic faith.[3]

At Boys High School, Wilkens was a basketball teammate of longtime Major League Baseball star Tommy Davis.

Playing career[edit]

Wilkens was a two-time All-American (1959 and 1960) at Providence College. He led the team to their first NIT appearance in 1959, and to the NIT finals in 1960. When he graduated, Wilkens was, with 1,193 points, the second-ranked scorer in Friar history (he has since dropped to twentieth as of 2005). In 1996, Wilkens' No. 14 jersey was retired by the college, the first alumnus to receive such an honor. In honor of his collegiate accomplishments, Wilkens was one of the inaugural inductees into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Wilkens was drafted sixth overall by the St. Louis Hawks in the 1960 NBA Draft. He began his career with eight seasons with the St. Louis Hawks, who lost the finals to the Boston Celtics in his rookie season. The Hawks made the playoffs consistently with Wilkens but never again reached the finals. Wilkens placed second to Wilt Chamberlain in the 1967–1968 MVP balloting, his last with the Hawks.

Wilkens was traded to Seattle for Walt Hazzard and spent four seasons there. Wilkens averaged 22.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 8.2 assists per game in his first season for the SuperSonics, and was an All-Star in three of his seasons for them. Wilkens was named head coach prior to his second season for the SuperSonics. Although the SuperSonics did not reach the playoffs while Wilkens simultaneously coached and started at point guard, their record improved each season and they won 47 games during the 1971–72 NBA season. Wilkens was dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers before the start of the next season in a highly unpopular trade, and the SuperSonics fell to 26-56 without his leadership on the court.[4]

Wilkens ended his career spending two seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers (19721974) and one with the Portland Trail Blazers (1974–1975).

Wilkens was a nine-time NBA All-Star, and was named the 1971 NBA All-Star Game MVP in 1971. With Seattle, he led the league in assists in the 1969–70 season, and at the time of his retirement, Wilkens was the NBA's second all-time leading playmaker (assists), behind only Oscar Robertson. He scored 17,772 points during the regular season.

Coaching career[edit]

From 19691972 with Seattle, and in his one season as a player with Portland, he was a player-coach. He retired from playing in 1975 and was the full-time coach of the Trail Blazers for one more season. After a season off from coaching, he again became coach of the SuperSonics when he replaced Bob Hopkins who was fired 22 games into the 1977–1978 season after a dismal 5-17 start. The SuperSonics won 11 of their first 12 games under Wilkens, made the playoffs, and ultimately reached the 1978 NBA Finals before losing in seven games to the Washington Bullets.

He coached in Seattle for eight seasons (19771985), winning his (and Seattle's) only NBA Championship in 1979. He would go on to coach Cleveland (19861993), Atlanta (19932000), Toronto (20002003) and New York (20042005).

The Hall of Famer was named head coach of the New York Knicks on January 15, 2004. After the Knicks' slow start to the 2004–2005 season, Wilkens resigned from the team on January 22, 2005.

Accomplishments[edit]

Later years[edit]

On November 29, 2006 he was hired as vice chairman of the Seattle SuperSonics' ownership group,[6] and was later named the Sonics' President of Basketball Operations on April 27, 2007.[7] On July 6, 2007 Wilkens resigned from the Sonics organization. Wilkens currently is seen on Northwest FSN Studio as a College Hoops analyst and occasionally appears on College Hoops Northwest at game nights. He is the founder of the Lenny Wilkens Foundation for Children.[8]

Quotes[edit]

Head coaching record[edit]

TeamYearRegular SeasonPost Season
WonLostWin %FinishWonLostWin %Result
SEA1969–703646.4395th in Western Division
SEA1970–713844.4634th in Pacific Division
SEA1971–724735.5733rd in Pacific Division
POR1974–753844.4633rd in Pacific Division
POR1975–763745.4515th in Pacific Division
SEA1977–784218.7003rd in Pacific Division139.591NBA Finals
SEA1978–795230.6341st in Pacific Division125.706NBA Championship
SEA1979–805626.6832nd in Pacific Division78.467Conf. Finals
SEA1980–813448.4156th in Pacific Division
SEA1981–825230.6342nd in Pacific Division35.375Conf. Semifinals
SEA1982–834834.5853rd in Pacific Division02.0001st round
SEA1983–844240.5123rd in Pacific Division23.4001st round
SEA1984–853151.3785th in Pacific Division
CLE1986–873151.3784th in Central Division
CLE1987–884240.5124th in Central Division23.4001st round
CLE1988–895725.6952nd in Central Division23.4001st round
CLE1989–904240.5124th in Central Division23.4001st round
CLE1990–913349.4026th in Central Division
CLE1991–925725.6952nd in Central Division98.529Conf. Finals
CLE1992–935428.6592nd in Central Division36.333Conf. Semifinals
ATL1993–945725.6951st in Central Division56.455Conf. Semifinals
ATL1994–954240.5125th in Central Division03.0001st round
ATL1995–964636.5614th in Central Division46.400Conf. Semifinals
ATL1996–975626.6832nd in Central Division46.400Conf. Semifinals
ATL1997–985032.6104th in Central Division13.2501st round
ATL1998–993119.6202nd in Central Division36.333Conf. Semifinals
ATL1999–002854.3417th in Central Division
TOR2000–014735.5732nd in Central Division66.500Conf. Semifinals
TOR2001–024240.5123rd in Central Division23.4001st round
TOR2002–032458.2937th in Central Division
NYK2003–042319.5483rd in Atlantic Division04.0001st round
NYK2004–051722.4365th in Atlantic Division
32 seasons13321155.536-8098.449-

Source: Lenny Wilkens Coaching Record – Basketball-Reference.com

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wilkens presented Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award | NBA.com
  2. ^ Beck, Howard. "PRO BASKETBALL; Wilkens Denies He Was Asked to Go", The New York Times, September 28, 2005. Accessed November 20, 2007. "A native of Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, Wilkens had added motivation to succeed in New York, which made leaving so quickly that much tougher."
  3. ^ a b Smith, Gary (December 5, 1994). "He Has Overcome". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved July 31, 2008. 
  4. ^ Gastineau, Mark; Thiel, Art; Rudman, Steve (2009). The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists. United States: Running Press. pp. 261–262. ISBN 9780762435227. 
  5. ^ http://www.csmonitor.com/1994/0308/08141.html
  6. ^ Evans, Jayda (December 1, 2006). "Wilkens a Sonic again – as vice chairman". The Seattle Times. 
  7. ^ SONICS: Lenny Wilkens Confirmed as President of Basketball Operations
  8. ^ http://lennywilkensfoundation.org/lwf_home.html
  9. ^ "Lenny Wilkens Interview (page: 6 / 7)". Academy of Achievement. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 

External links[edit]