Lenny Wilkens has been immortalized in the Basketball Hall of Fame, which seems natural given the accolades he received during his 45-year career at the National Basketball Association as a player and coach.

Now, Wilkens was immortalized in Seattle. On Thursday, city officials christened Thomas Street – which runs from west to east on the south side of Climate Pledge Arena – as Lenny Wilkens Way. It’s a fitting name, given Wilkens’ accomplishments with the Seattle Supersonics when the Climate Pledge Arena was known as the Seattle Center Coliseum.

“Lenny Wilkins was not just one of the greatest players in history – a great player, a great coach, twice famous, he is a celebrity for Seattle,” Mayor Jenny Durkan told a news conference Thursday. . “We know that when we rename this street, it will forever remind us of someone who has given so much and ensure that he is part of every game played in that arena.”

Wilkens was named an NBA All-Star 13 times – nine as a player, four as a coach – and held the record for most wins from an NBA head coach (1,332) when he retired in 2005. He led the Supersonics to a national championship in 1979. , and won a gold medal as the head coach of the U.S. men’s basketball team during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

Before hanging up his jersey, Wilkens played for four NBA teams, including the Supersonics, where he spent more than two seasons as head coach while playing guardian at the same time. He scored a total of 17,772 points during regular season games during his career and had the second assists in NBA history when he retired. In 1997, during the 50th anniversary season of the NBA, he was included in the league list of the top 50 greatest players of all time.

But Wilkens’ contributions to Seattle go far beyond what he did in the yard. Through its foundation, Wilkens has raised millions for the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic in the city center district, which provides medical, dental and mental health services to children.

This fact is likely to surprise a younger Wilkens, who came to Seattle “kicking and screaming” in 1968 after being transferred from St. Louis.

“I did not think we could reach the play-offs,” Wilkens told a news conference Thursday. “But after spending some time here and meeting people, I decided there was no better place for us than the Northwest. Seattle was unique. The fans were unique. They were acceptable. And it was a wonderful, wonderful experience for me. We decided that this would be our home. ”