Lenny Wilkens (born October 28, 1937, in Brooklyn, New York, USA) is a former National Basketball Association player, as well as the NBA's career leader in coaching wins and losses.
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 only alumnus to receive such an honor.
Wilkens was drafted sixth overall by the St. Louis Hawks in the 1960 NBA Draft. He played for St. Louis Hawks (1960-1968), Seattle SuperSonics (1968-1972), Cleveland Cavaliers (1972-1974) and Portland Trail Blazers (1974-1975). He was a nine-time NBA all-star, and was named the game's 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. From 1969-1972 with Seattle, and in his one season with Portland, he was 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, in 1977 he again became coach of the Supersonics, where he coached for eight seasons (1977-1985), winning his (and for that matter, Seattle's) only NBA Championship in 1979. He would go on to coach Cleveland (1987-1993), Atlanta (1993-2000), Toronto (2000-2003) and New York (2004-2005).
The Hall Of Famer was named head coach of the New York Knicks on January 15, 2004. After the Knicks's slow start to the 2004-2005 campaign, Wilkens resigned from the team on January 22, 2005. He retired with 1,332 wins, the most in NBA history (he passed Red Auerbach on January 6, 1995 with a win against the Washington Bullets), and 1,155 losses, also the most in NBA history (he passed Bill Fitch in 2001). He is considered to be among the top coaches in the history of the Cavaliers, Hawks, Raptors, and Supersonics.
He coached the 1996 Olympic Champion Men's Basketball team.
Wilkens is one of three players to be inducted to 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. He is also a member of the Providence College Athletic Hall of Fame.
Wilkens is a prominent member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the oldest intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans.
Today Lenny Wilkens is the NBA analyst for Fox Sports Northwest in Seattle.