Lenny Wilkens 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 in 2010 as part of the 1992 United States Olympic “Dream Team”, for which he was an assistant coach. He is also a 2006 inductee into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.
Wilkens was a combined 13-time NBA All-Star as a player (nine times) and as a head coach (four times), was the 1993 NBA Coach of the Year, won the 1979 NBA Championship as the head coach of the Seattle Super Sonics, and an Olympic gold medal as the head coach of the 1996 U.S. men’s basketball team.
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.
From 1969 to 1972 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 Super Sonics when he replaced Bob Hopkins who was fired 22 games into the 1977–78 seasons after a dismal 5-17 start. The Super Sonics 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 (1977–1985), winning his (and Seattle’s) only NBA championship in 1979. He would go on to coach Cleveland (1986–1993), Atlanta (1993–2000), Toronto (2000–2003) and New York (2004–05).
The Hall of Famer was named head coach of the New York Knicks on January 15, 2004. After the Knicks’ slow start to the 2004–05 season, Wilkens resigned from the team on January 22, 2005.
On November 29, 2006 he was hired as vice chairman of the Seattle SuperSonics’ ownership group, and was later named the Sonics’ President of Basketball Operations on April 27, 2007. 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.