Seattle Growth Podcast 2.7: the Sonics, Lenny Wilkens and residents in need

What difference can one person make in the lives of a community? In the case of Lenny Wilkens, the man who delivered Seattle’s first professional sports championship, quite a lot.

Episode 7 of the Seattle Growth Podcast, season 2, gets to know the Hall of Fame player and coach who was a 13-time NBA All-Star and led the Seattle SuperSonics to the 1979 NBA Championship. After retiring from basketball, Wilkens continued making a positive impact on the Seattle community through his Lenny Wilkens Foundation which has been supporting enrichment, education and health of young people for more than 40 years.

Wilkens discusses his Brooklyn upbringing, his career and his motivation to give back to his adoptive community of Seattle through the foundation. And Dr. Benjamin Danielson of Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown Clinic shares personal stories of how Wilkens has impacted his life and the lives of the children he serves.

Series host Jeff Shulman calls upon listeners to “live like Lenny” and let people know about it. Do some good for the community, snap a picture and share on social media using the hashtag #LiveLikeLenny.

“You can donate items to a food bank. Bring clothes, blankets or supplies to a shelter. Clean up trash from a public space. Volunteer with a service organization. Even small acts add up to a greater social good,” Shulman says. “Let’s follow our positive role models and create a ripple effect.”


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The Seattle Growth Podcast is hosted and produced by Shulman, an associate professor of marketing and the Marion B. Ingersoll Professor at the UW Foster School of Business.