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Lenny Wilkens to be immortalized in namesake at Climate Pledge Arena

KIRO 7 Seattle
KIRO 7 Seattle
 2021-09-22
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Knicks v Bulls CHICAGO - JANUARY 17: New head coach Lenny Wilkens of the New York Knicks watches the action as the Knicks take on the Chicago Bulls during a game on January 17, 2004 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken fans headed to Climate Pledge Arena will soon be greeted with a new surprise opening day.

Seattle councilmembers voted Monday to have Lenny Wilkens — NBA Hall of Famer who led the Seattle Supersonics to its 1978-79 NBA championship title — become the honorary namesake of Thomas Street.

“Lenny Wilkens Way” will take the place of Thomas St. between 1st and 2nd Ave N. It rests at the southwest corner of Climate Pledge.

“This resolution will honor a beloved and widely celebrated African-American athlete and coach whose foundation continues to support a pediatric health and dental clinic that primarily serves children of color in central and south Seattle, regardless of their families’ ability to pay,” reads the legislation’s summary, in part.

Wilkens served as head coach and player for the Sonics for four years. He continues to live in Seattle, where he headed the Lenny Wilkens Foundation for Children until this August. The foundation has raised millions of dollars for the Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown Clinic.

Wilkens is a noted lobbyist for the return of an NBA franchise to Seattle, serving on a city-appointed advisory committee which oversaw bids for Climate Pledge Arena’s $930 million refurbishment.

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