Fall Premier Auction 2019

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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/14/2019

They say point guards make great coaches, and Lenny Wilkens was a prime example. The New York native molded his cerebral skill set on the Brooklyn playgrounds before becoming an All-American at Providence College and an early first round draft pick by the St. Louis Hawks in 1960. The 9-time All-Star finished 2nd to Wilt Chamberlain in the 1968 MVP voting and later became a player-coach in Seattle before transitioning full-time to the sidelines. Wilkens would guide the SuperSonics to back-to-back Finals appearances, including the franchise’s only NBA title in 1979. From 1969 to 2005, he coached an NBA-record 2,487 games (plus four All-Star Games) with six teams – the Blazers, Sonics, Cavs, Hawks, Raptors and Knicks, in that order – and sits second all-time in wins with 1,332 (just three behind Don Nelson). He was voted to the NBA’s Top 10 Coaches in History list in 1996, but only Wilkens was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame three separate times: as a player, coach, and member of the 1992 Olympic “Dream Team.”

For his 1958-59 junior season, Lenny earned the first of his two NCAA All-America selections while leading Providence to a 20-7 record and the Semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament. From 1938 until the 1960s, the N.I.T. was college basketball's preeminent postseason tournament from which the National Champion was recognized. The 1959 N.I.T. involved 12 teams, whereas the '59 "NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament" invited 23 teams to compete. The Friars, led by their star point guard Wilkens' 15.7 points and 7 rebounds per game (assists not yet tracked), would fall to eventual champion St. Johns in the N.I.T. semis played at Madison Square Garden. Interestingly enough, the head coach of the Red Storm was none other than Joe Lapchick of the New York's famed "Original Celtics" (see Lot 5).

Offered here is Wilkens' personally issued 1959 N.I.T. cufflinks and tie clip set. The design of each circular, black enameled face (23 mm) incorporates "N.I.T." and "1959" in 12-karat gold-filled letters and numbers, with the Providence College Seal ("Sigillum Collegii Providentiensis") in between. Lenny's intials "L.R.W." are engraved on the reverse of each piece. Each cufflink is hallmarked "1/20 12KT G.F." along its post; the tie bar (2" long) is stamped "GOLD FILLED" on the back. The set presents in NM condition and comes with its original black case. Includes LOA from Wilkens.

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Minimum Bid: $300
Final prices include buyers premium.: $0
Number Bids: 0
Auction closed on Saturday, December 14, 2019.
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