Lenny Wilkens: Wikis

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Lenny Wilkens
Position(s) Point guard
Jersey #(s) 14, 15, 17, 19, 32
Listed height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Listed weight 180 lb (82 kg)
Born October 28, 1937 (1937-10-28) (age 72)
Brooklyn, New York
Career information
Year(s) 1960–1975
NBA Draft 1960 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6

Selected by St. Louis Hawks

College Providence
Professional team(s)
Career stats (NBA and/or ABA)
Points     17,772
Rebound     5,030
Assists     7,211
Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Career highlights and awards
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
Basketball Hall of Fame as coach
Coaching
  • Seattle SuperSonics (1969–1972, 1977–1985)
  • Portland Trail Blazers (1974–1976)
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (1986–1993)
  • Atlanta Hawks (1993–2000)
  • Toronto Raptors (2000–2003)
  • New York Knicks (2004–2005)

Leonard Randolph "Lenny" Wilkens (born October 28, 1937, in Brooklyn, New York, U.S.) is a retired American basketball player and coach in the NBA, as well as the league's career leader in coaching win–loss totals. He was inducted twice into the Basketball Hall of Fame, first in 1989 as a player and then later as a coach in 1998.

On November 29, 2006 he was hired as vice chairman of the Seattle SuperSonics' ownership group,[1] and was later named the Sonics' President of Basketball Operations on April 27, 2007.[2] 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 Northwest College Hoops at game nights.

Contents

Early life

Wilkens grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.[3] His father was African American and his mother was Irish.[4] Wilkens was raised in the Roman Catholic faith.[4]

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

Playing career

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' #14 jersey was retired by the college, the first alumnus to receive such an honor.

Wilkens was drafted sixth overall by the St. Louis Hawks in the 1960 NBA Draft. He played for the Hawks (1960-1968), Seattle SuperSonics (1968-1972), Cleveland Cavaliers (1972-1974) and Portland Trail Blazers (1974–1975).

Wilkens placed second to Wilt Chamberlain in the 1967–1968 MVP balloting. Wilkens was a nine-time NBA All-Star, and was named the 1971 NBA All-Star Game MVP in 1971. 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, behind only Oscar Robertson.

Coaching career

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. He coached in Seattle for eight seasons (1977-1985), 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.

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Accomplishments

He retired with 1,332 wins and 1,155 losses, both figures the most in NBA history. This comes from his 35 years of coaching in the NBA, among the longest tenure in the league.

He coached the Olympic Champion Men's Basketball team in 1996 and was an assistant coach on the 1992 USA Olympic Dream Team.

Wilkens is one of three players to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach (the other two being John Wooden and Bill Sharman), joining the Hall in 1989 as a player and 1998 as a coach. In 1996, the NBA named Wilkens one of its 50 Greatest Players and 10 Greatest Coaches; Wilkens is the only person named to both lists. He is also a member of the Providence College Athletic Hall of Fame.

Quotes

  • "I learned my basketball on the playgrounds of Brooklyn. Today, being a playground player is an insult. It means all you want to do is go one-on-one, it means your fundamentals stink and you don't understand the game. But the playgrounds I knew were tremendous training grounds."
  • "Show people how to have success and then you can push their expectations up."

Coaching record

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
SEA 1969/70 36 46 .439 5th in Western Division
SEA 1970/71 38 44 .463 4th in Pacific Division
SEA 1971/72 47 35 .573 3rd in Pacific Division
POR 1974/75 38 44 .463 3rd in Pacific Division
POR 1975/76 37 45 .451 5th in Pacific Division
SEA 1977/78 42 18 .700 3rd in Pacific Division 13 9 .591 NBA Finals
SEA 1978/79 52 30 .634 1st in Pacific Division 12 5 .706 NBA Championship
SEA 1979/80 56 26 .683 2nd in Pacific Division 7 8 .467 Conf. Finals
SEA 1980/81 34 48 .415 6th in Pacific Division
SEA 1981/82 52 30 .634 2nd in Pacific Division 3 5 .375 Conf. Semifinals
SEA 1982/83 48 34 .585 3rd in Pacific Division 0 2 .000 1st Round
SEA 1983/84 42 40 .512 3rd in Pacific Division 2 3 .400 1st Round
SEA 1984/85 31 51 .378 5th in Pacific Division
CLE 1986/87 31 51 .378 4th in Central Division
CLE 1987/88 42 40 .512 4th in Central Division 2 3 .400 1st Round
CLE 1988/89 57 25 .695 2nd in Central Division 2 3 .400 1st Round
CLE 1989/90 42 40 .512 4th in Central Division 2 3 .400 1st Round
CLE 1990/91 33 49 .402 6th in Central Division
CLE 1991/92 57 25 .695 2nd in Central Division 9 8 .529 Conf. Finals
CLE 1992/93 54 28 .659 2nd in Central Division 3 6 .333 Conf. Semifinals
ATL 1993/94 57 25 .695 1st in Central Division 5 6 .455 Conf. Semifinals
ATL 1994/95 42 40 .512 5th in Central Division 0 3 .000 1st Round
ATL 1995/96 46 36 .561 4th in Central Division 4 6 .400 Conf. Semifinals
ATL 1996/97 56 26 .683 2nd in Central Division 4 6 .400 Conf. Semifinals
ATL 1997/98 50 32 .610 4th in Central Division 1 3 .250 1st Round
ATL 1998/99 31 19 .620 2nd in Central Division 3 6 .333 Conf. Semifinals
ATL 1999/00 28 54 .341 7th in Central Division
TOR 2000/01 47 35 .573 2nd in Central Division 6 6 .500 Conf. Semifinals
TOR 2001/02 42 40 .512 3rd in Central Division 2 3 .400 1st Round
TOR 2002/03 24 58 .293 7th in Central Division
NYK 2003/04 23 19 .548 3rd in Atlantic Division 0 4 .000 1st Round
NYK 2004/05 17 22 .436 5th in Atlantic Division
32 seasons 1332 1155 .536 - 80 98 .449 -

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

References

  1. ^ The Seattle Times: Sonics: Wilkens a Sonic again — as vice chairman
  2. ^ SONICS: Lenny Wilkens Confirmed as President of Basketball Operations
  3. ^ 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."
  4. ^ a b Smith, Gary (1994-12-05). "He Has Overcome". Sports Illustrated. http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1006042/2/index.htm. Retrieved 2008-07-31.  

Trivia

A basketball signed by Lenny Wilkens appeared behind Barack Obama in his first YouTube "radio" address as President-elect.

Wilkens is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans.

External links


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