New York, NY, June 5, 2011 – Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens is the recipient of the Association’s “Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award” for 2011, the National Basketball Coaches Association announced today.
One of only three Hall of Famers enshrined as both player and coach, Wilkens ranks second all time in wins and first in games coached. He is the only NBA legend listed among both the all-time top-50 NBA players and the all-time top-10 NBA Coaches.
“I’m deeply grateful to my NBA peers for honoring me with the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Wilkens. “Chuck wasa great coach, but more important a great friend and I’m thrilled to accept this award.”
As a head coach, Wilkens Coached the Seattle Supersonics to their only NBA title in 1979, and led five different NBA teams to the playoffs. Utilizing a team-oriented philosophy, Wilkens had the unique talent of crafting championship contending clubs out of competent but unspectacular units. In 1994, he was named the NBA Coach of the Year with the Atlanta Hawks. Wilkens also served as head coach of USA Basketball’s Gold Medal-winning Dream Team II at the 1996 Summer Olympics, after serving as an assistant coach on the fabled 1992 Gold Medal-winning Dream Team.
He is the only person inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame on three spearate occasions as a player (1989), coach (1998) and as a member of the 1992 Dream Team (2010).
Wilkens also served as the President of the National Basketaball Coaches Association for a record 17 years. Under his leadership, the only coaches union in professional sports made great strides for all NBA head and assistant coaches.
Wilkens has mentored coaches worldwide, including consulting assignements for the Korean National Team in the 2010 Asian Games. He alos co-produced the popular Wilkens Basketball Legacy Series – an instructional basketball DVD focusing on skill development for young players and coaches. With his commitment to community Lenny founded the Lenny Wilkens Foundation, which supports children’s healthcare and education. The Wilkens family and foundation have raised well over two million dollars for their primary charity of choice, the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic in Seattle as well as supporting various other charities.
Dallas Mavericks head coach and National Basketball Caoches Association President Rick Carlisle stated: “Lenny Wilkens is a true leader, an example and mentor to all of us who coach the game. He’s also a fine gentleman and a true NBA ‘treasure’.”
The National Basketball Coaches Associations Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award comemorates the memory of Hall of Famer Chuck Daly, who over an outstanding NBA coaching career set a standard of integrity, competitive excellence and tireless promotion of NBA basketball. This year’s award recognizes the special contributions Wilkens has made to the sport throughout his NBA career, building a body of work has had a positive, lasting impact on the NBA coaching profession. Wilkens has personified the high standards and team leadership qualities that Chuck Daly brought to the game.
The National Basketball Coaches Association Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award winner is selected by the Award Selection Committee comrpised of a cross section of NBA “insiders”, including Bernie Bickerstaff, Billy Cunningham, Mike Heisley, Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich, Pat Riley, and Donnie Walsh.