Sonics’ Lenny Wilkens to be immortalized in namesake at Climate Pledge Arena

Sep 22, 2021, 8:55 AM | Updated: 10:49 am
Lenny Wilkens...
Lenny Wilkens (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

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

Seattle councilmembers voted Monday to have Lenny Wilkens — an 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 Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue North. It rests at the southwest corner of Climate Pledge.

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“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 that oversaw bids for Climate Pledge Arena’s $930 million refurbishment.

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Sonics’ Lenny Wilkens to be immortalized in namesake at Climate Pledge Arena