This Day in Black Sports History: February 10, 1989

February 9th, 2011 by Ronald Monestime Leave a reply »
In the mid-1990s, as he inched closer to becoming the National Basketball Association's all-time leader in coaching victories, Leonard Randolph Wilkens exhibited the same type of quiet resolve that began to develop during his childhood in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.

Born on October 28, 1937 to an African-American father and an Irish mother, Wilkens had to quickly adjust to the ostracism he would receive for his mixed heritage, either from the taunts of other children or the contemptuous remarks of racist adults.

While still a preschooler though, his emotional maturation was further accelerated when his father died suddenly, leaving Wilkens, the oldest of four children, as the “man of the family” at the tender age of five.

Living in a Brooklyn tenement, and supported only by the wages his mother earned working in a candy factory, Wilkens managed to keep his emotions under firm control while keeping his nose in the books and resisting the temptations of the street.

"I couldn't have sympathy," Wilkens told Sports Illustrated.

"I couldn't trust. I couldn't get involved with people because ...

Read Full Article at Bleacher Report - NBA
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