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Lenny Wilkens

NBA Champion, Coach of the Year & Hall of Famer

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Lenny Wilkens Biography

After a Hall of Fame career as one of the great playmakers in basketball history, Lenny Wilkens turned to coaching and led his teams to more wins than any other coach in NBA history.

Wilkens coached the Dream Team to the gold medal for the United States at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, and was an assistant to Chuck Daly with the original Dream Team at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

As a player, Wilkens was diminutive in stature, but his list of accomplishments made him one of the giants of the game. His reserved demeanor belies his achievements while his self-effacing manner is reflected in his coaching style: a game plan based on unselfish offensive and defensive play that creates powerhouse teamwork.

Wilkens' formula has succeeded beyond even his dreams. On January 6, 1995, in his 22nd NBA season as a head coach, Wilkens became the winningest coach in NBA history, notching his 939th coaching victory to surpass Boston Celtics legend Red Auerbach's 938. The milestone victory came when Wilkens' Hawks defeated Washington 112-90 at the Omni in Atlanta, with Auerbach on hand.

Wilkens reached another milestone on March 1, 1996 when his Hawks defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 74-68, making him the first coach in NBA history to record 1,000 regular season NBA victories. After 30 seasons as an NBA head coach, Wilkens left the bench with his last stop being with the Toronto Raptors in the 2002-03 campaign. He had coached 2,046 regular season games, 164 playoff games and four NBA All-Star Games, making him the only head coach in NBA history with more than 2,000 games under his belt.

He trailed only Major League Baseball’s Connie Mack (53 years) and John McGraw (33) and the National Football League’s George Halas (40), Curly Lambeau (33) and Don Shula (33) for the longest tenure as a head coach in a major professional sports league.

Among his coaching trophies are a 1979 NBA championship with the Seattle SuperSonics and a 1994 NBA Coach of the Year Award with the Atlanta Hawks. These accomplishments and others often overshadow his equally impressive feats as a player. In 15 seasons as a 6-1 point guard for the St. Louis Hawks, Seattle SuperSonics, Cleveland Cavaliers and Portland Trail Blazers, Wilkens accumulated 17,772 points, 7,211 assists, and nine trips to the NBA All-Star Game.

For his exploits on the court Wilkens was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989.

He was also a first-team selection to two All-America squads.

The St. Louis Hawks selected Wilkens in the first round of the 1960 NBA Draft. Even then he wasn't sure he wanted to play in the NBA. He didn't see his first NBA game until after he had been drafted. After attending a Celtics-Hawks matchup he decided he could play better than the Hawks' guards he saw on the floor. So Wilkens went to training camp and, sure enough, earned himself a spot in the starting lineup.

He scored 11.7 points per game as a rookie, fourth on the team behind Bob Pettit, Cliff Hagan and Clyde Lovellette. The Hawks won the Western Division title and advanced to meet the Boston Celtics in the 1961 NBA Finals, which they lost in five games.

St. Louis had a frustrating season in 1961-62, as injuries and other circumstances caused a severe drop to a 29-51 record and a fourth-place finish in the Western Division. Veteran guard John McCarthy missed 65 games with a leg injury, Lovellette missed 40 games, and Larry Foust sat out 23. Perhaps most damaging, however, Wilkens couldn't avoid a prior military commitment; he played in only 20 contests while commuting from Fort Lee, Virginia. In those 20 games he averaged 18.2 ppg and 5.8 apg. The Hawks missed the playoffs in 1962 for the only time in the eight years that Wilkens spent with the team.

Wilkens returned to regular NBA duty in 1962-63 and continued his development as a confident and savvy playmaker. He tallied 11.8 points and 5.1 assists per game that year and made his first appearance in the NBA All-Star Game. He guided the Hawks to six consecutive playoff appearances beginning in 1963, but St. Louis wouldn't return to the NBA Finals. A five-time All-Star during those six seasons, Wilkens had his finest campaign in 1967-68, averaging 20.0 ppg and 8.3 apg and finishing runner-up to Wilt Chamberlain for the NBA Most Valuable Player Award.

However, following that season the Hawks traded Wilkens to Seattle for Walt Hazzard. The expansion Sonics were entering their second season in 1968-69, and Wilkens helped them to a respectable 30-52 record by averaging 22.4 ppg and 8.2 apg.

Prior to the 1969-70 season Seattle General Manager Dick Vertlieb asked Wilkens to become player-coach.

In his first year as player-coach, Wilkens described the dual job as "a novelty." By his third year the Sonics had posted a 47-35 record to go over the .500 mark for the first time in franchise history. He continued to shine as a player, leading the league in total assists in both 1969-70 and 1971-72. But as the novelty wore off Wilkens began to feel the strain.

Prior to the 1972-73 season Seattle management gave Wilkens an ultimatum: choose between being either a player or a coach. He decided to remain in uniform; he told his employers they could expect his full loyalty to any new coach. The Sonics then hired Tom Nissalke, the previous season's ABA Coach of the Year with the Dallas Chaparrals, to take the coaching reins.

Wilkens represented the Cavaliers in the 1973 NBA All-Star Game during a season in which he averaged 20.5 ppgand 8.4 apg. He concluded his playing career with the Portland Trail Blazers during the 1974-75 season, once again seduced by the dual role of player-coach. But this time he knew that his on-the-job training as a guard was no substitute for his role as teacher, which demanded a great deal more of his time. "I realized I would have to start focusing more on the coaching end of things to be successful at it," he told HOOP.

During Wilkens' 15 years as a player in the NBA, he scored 17,772 points for an average of 16.5 ppg and handed out 7,211 assists. He ranks among the all-time leaders in assists, games played, minutes played and free throws made. The nine-time All-Star was also the MVP of the 1971 midseason classic in San Diego.

For Wilkens, the summer of 1996 will be remembered for the time spent coaching the Dream Team to Olympic gold. Despite some slow starts and close first half play, Team USA won each of its games by at least 18 points and defeated Yugoslavia 95-69 in the gold medal game.

It was the fourth 50+ win season in the past six years for a team guided by Wilkens. He was enshrined in the Hall of Fame as a coach in 1998 but continued to coach through the 2002-03 season.

FAQs
  • HOW TO BOOK Lenny Wilkens?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Lenny Wilkens for both live and virtual events for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment. Fill out a booking request form for Lenny Wilkens, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Lenny Wilkens or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BOOK Lenny Wilkens?

    Booking fees for Lenny Wilkens, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies between live and virtual events. Other factors that can affect speaker fees include the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. The live and virtual event speaking fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Lenny Wilkens, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • WHO IS THE AGENT FOR Lenny Wilkens?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Lenny Wilkens for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Lenny Wilkens for your next private or corporate function.
  • WHAT IS A FULL-SERVICE TALENT BOOKING AGENCY?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Lenny Wilkens or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Lenny Wilkens or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.
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This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

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NBA Champion, Coach of the Year & Hall of Famer

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Lenny Wilkens Biography

After a Hall of Fame career as one of the great playmakers in basketball history, Lenny Wilkens turned to coaching and led his teams to more wins than any other coach in NBA history.

Wilkens coached the Dream Team to the gold medal for the United States at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, and was an assistant to Chuck Daly with the original Dream Team at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

As a player, Wilkens was diminutive in stature, but his list of accomplishments made him one of the giants of the game. His reserved demeanor belies his achievements while his self-effacing manner is reflected in his coaching style: a game plan based on unselfish offensive and defensive play that creates powerhouse teamwork.

Wilkens' formula has succeeded beyond even his dreams. On January 6, 1995, in his 22nd NBA season as a head coach, Wilkens became the winningest coach in NBA history, notching his 939th coaching victory to surpass Boston Celtics legend Red Auerbach's 938. The milestone victory came when Wilkens' Hawks defeated Washington 112-90 at the Omni in Atlanta, with Auerbach on hand.

Wilkens reached another milestone on March 1, 1996 when his Hawks defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 74-68, making him the first coach in NBA history to record 1,000 regular season NBA victories. After 30 seasons as an NBA head coach, Wilkens left the bench with his last stop being with the Toronto Raptors in the 2002-03 campaign. He had coached 2,046 regular season games, 164 playoff games and four NBA All-Star Games, making him the only head coach in NBA history with more than 2,000 games under his belt.

He trailed only Major League Baseball’s Connie Mack (53 years) and John McGraw (33) and the National Football League’s George Halas (40), Curly Lambeau (33) and Don Shula (33) for the longest tenure as a head coach in a major professional sports league.

Among his coaching trophies are a 1979 NBA championship with the Seattle SuperSonics and a 1994 NBA Coach of the Year Award with the Atlanta Hawks. These accomplishments and others often overshadow his equally impressive feats as a player. In 15 seasons as a 6-1 point guard for the St. Louis Hawks, Seattle SuperSonics, Cleveland Cavaliers and Portland Trail Blazers, Wilkens accumulated 17,772 points, 7,211 assists, and nine trips to the NBA All-Star Game.

For his exploits on the court Wilkens was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989.

He was also a first-team selection to two All-America squads.

The St. Louis Hawks selected Wilkens in the first round of the 1960 NBA Draft. Even then he wasn't sure he wanted to play in the NBA. He didn't see his first NBA game until after he had been drafted. After attending a Celtics-Hawks matchup he decided he could play better than the Hawks' guards he saw on the floor. So Wilkens went to training camp and, sure enough, earned himself a spot in the starting lineup.

He scored 11.7 points per game as a rookie, fourth on the team behind Bob Pettit, Cliff Hagan and Clyde Lovellette. The Hawks won the Western Division title and advanced to meet the Boston Celtics in the 1961 NBA Finals, which they lost in five games.

St. Louis had a frustrating season in 1961-62, as injuries and other circumstances caused a severe drop to a 29-51 record and a fourth-place finish in the Western Division. Veteran guard John McCarthy missed 65 games with a leg injury, Lovellette missed 40 games, and Larry Foust sat out 23. Perhaps most damaging, however, Wilkens couldn't avoid a prior military commitment; he played in only 20 contests while commuting from Fort Lee, Virginia. In those 20 games he averaged 18.2 ppg and 5.8 apg. The Hawks missed the playoffs in 1962 for the only time in the eight years that Wilkens spent with the team.

Wilkens returned to regular NBA duty in 1962-63 and continued his development as a confident and savvy playmaker. He tallied 11.8 points and 5.1 assists per game that year and made his first appearance in the NBA All-Star Game. He guided the Hawks to six consecutive playoff appearances beginning in 1963, but St. Louis wouldn't return to the NBA Finals. A five-time All-Star during those six seasons, Wilkens had his finest campaign in 1967-68, averaging 20.0 ppg and 8.3 apg and finishing runner-up to Wilt Chamberlain for the NBA Most Valuable Player Award.

However, following that season the Hawks traded Wilkens to Seattle for Walt Hazzard. The expansion Sonics were entering their second season in 1968-69, and Wilkens helped them to a respectable 30-52 record by averaging 22.4 ppg and 8.2 apg.

Prior to the 1969-70 season Seattle General Manager Dick Vertlieb asked Wilkens to become player-coach.

In his first year as player-coach, Wilkens described the dual job as "a novelty." By his third year the Sonics had posted a 47-35 record to go over the .500 mark for the first time in franchise history. He continued to shine as a player, leading the league in total assists in both 1969-70 and 1971-72. But as the novelty wore off Wilkens began to feel the strain.

Prior to the 1972-73 season Seattle management gave Wilkens an ultimatum: choose between being either a player or a coach. He decided to remain in uniform; he told his employers they could expect his full loyalty to any new coach. The Sonics then hired Tom Nissalke, the previous season's ABA Coach of the Year with the Dallas Chaparrals, to take the coaching reins.

Wilkens represented the Cavaliers in the 1973 NBA All-Star Game during a season in which he averaged 20.5 ppgand 8.4 apg. He concluded his playing career with the Portland Trail Blazers during the 1974-75 season, once again seduced by the dual role of player-coach. But this time he knew that his on-the-job training as a guard was no substitute for his role as teacher, which demanded a great deal more of his time. "I realized I would have to start focusing more on the coaching end of things to be successful at it," he told HOOP.

During Wilkens' 15 years as a player in the NBA, he scored 17,772 points for an average of 16.5 ppg and handed out 7,211 assists. He ranks among the all-time leaders in assists, games played, minutes played and free throws made. The nine-time All-Star was also the MVP of the 1971 midseason classic in San Diego.

For Wilkens, the summer of 1996 will be remembered for the time spent coaching the Dream Team to Olympic gold. Despite some slow starts and close first half play, Team USA won each of its games by at least 18 points and defeated Yugoslavia 95-69 in the gold medal game.

It was the fourth 50+ win season in the past six years for a team guided by Wilkens. He was enshrined in the Hall of Fame as a coach in 1998 but continued to coach through the 2002-03 season.

FAQs on booking Lenny Wilkens

  • How to book Lenny Wilkens?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Lenny Wilkens for both live and virtual events for over 20 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment. Fill out a booking request form for Lenny Wilkens, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Lenny Wilkens or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • How much does it cost to book Lenny Wilkens?

    Booking fees for Lenny Wilkens, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies between live and virtual events. Other factors that can affect speaker fees include the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. The live and virtual event speaking fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Lenny Wilkens, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • Who is the agent for Lenny Wilkens?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Lenny Wilkens for clients worldwide for more than 20 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Lenny Wilkens for your next private or corporate function.
  • What is a full-service talent booking agency?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Lenny Wilkens or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Lenny Wilkens or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.

Lenny Wilkens is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Lenny Wilkens for your event is $20,000 - $30,000. Lenny Wilkens generally travels from and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Karl Malone, Magic Johnson, Rick Barry, Bismack Biyombo and Donna Orender. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Lenny Wilkens for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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Speakers Similar to Lenny Wilkens

This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

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