Lenny Wilkens Offers High Praise To Current Cavs: ‘I’m So Happy For You’

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — NBA legend and former Cavaliers coach Lenny Wilkens came to Cleveland on Saturday as the franchise celebrated its Wall of Honor and spoke to the team.

Lenny Wilkens
Courtesy Cleveland Cavaliers

“I watch you guys on TV, and I’m so happy for you,” Wilkens said, addressing the team.

Wilkens, 84, lives in Seattle but has indeed kept tabs on the Cavs. Along with playing for the franchise as a point guard in its early days, he coached the still-cherished teams of the late 1980s and early ’90s that featured Brad Daugherty, Mark Price and Larry Nance.

He clearly likes what today’s young group including the likes of Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley has already accomplished. Entering Saturday’s home game against the Bulls, the Cavs (41-32) were in sixth place in the tightly contested Eastern Conference playoff race.

Along with the players, Wilkens offered high praise for current coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who shares Wilkens’ similar laid-back leadership approach.

“You can’t have any one better suited to coach your basketball team,” Wilkens said.

Wilkens is a native of Brooklyn and was selected by the Hawks, then in St. Louis, with the No. 6 overall pick in the 1962 NBA Draft. He learned he had been drafted while in the middle of one of his college classes at Providence.

He played for the Cavs from 1972-74, before going on to coach the SuperSonics, Trail Blazers, Cavs, Hawks, Raptors and Knicks. He coached the Sonics (now Thunder) to the 1979 championship, and led the 1988-89 Cavs to a record of 57-25 record — the best mark in franchise history at the time.

That team lost to Michael Jordan and the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, though, forever being remembered as victims of “The Shot,” or the game-winner delivered by Jordan at the final buzzer of the series’ deciding game.

Wilkens has been married to his wife, Marilyn, since 1962 and has one son, Randy. Lenny Wilkens is in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and coach.

Looking for the latest NBA Insider News & Rumors?

Be sure to follow Hoops Wire on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NBA News and Rumors for all 32 teams!

Leave a Reply