Today in Sports History: March 1

In 1996, Atlanta’s Lenny Wilkens became the first coach in NBA history to reach 1,000 career victories when the Hawks beat Cleveland Cavaliers, 74-68.

Wilkens ended his coaching career in 2005 with 1,332 victories. He was later bested by Don Nelson with 1,335 victories in 2009. Wilkens began his coaching career as a player-coach for the Seattle SuperSonics in 1969, from there he took his first coaching position with the Portland Trail Blazers.

In 1977, he returned to the Seattle SuperSonics and led the team to the 1979 NBA championship. He was the assistant coach to the 1992 men’s Olympic Basketball team, the “Dream Team,” and the head coach of the 1996 U.S men’s team. Both teams earned gold medals. Wilkens is a three-time hall of fame inductee – in 1989 as a player, in 1998 as a coach, and in 2010 as a member of the “Dream Team.” Wilkens is ranked as one of the Top 10 Coaches in NBA History and is a 13-time NBA All-Star (nine times as a player, four times as head coach).

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