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					     my favorIte thIngs
     nba hall of famer and medIna resIdent lenny wIlkens reflects on the sIgnIfIcance of hIs rIngs.

     when it comes to           “I do thInk about the sIgnIfIcance             significant, and I don’t take them for
     rings, lenny wilkens       of the rIngs, what they stand for and the      granted. It’s a honor when you are singled
     has his fair share. In     history they carry. Of course, the new ring    out for any achievement. * “Above all of
     fact, the medina-based     feels particularly special because I’m the     the rings, though, my favorite piece of
     nba hall of fame           only one who has been inducted three           jewelry is the pendant my wife gave me
     coach and player has       times. [Last August, Wilkens made history      early on in our relationship. I wore it on
     so many honorary           when he became the first person inducted       the court until the rules changed and I
     rings—earned from          into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a          was no longer allowed to. Now I wear it
     playing in multiple all-   player, a coach and an Olympian]. * “But       every day and it reminds me of our 47
     star games, coaching       all of the rings feel like a huge achieve-     years of marriage and what an incredible
     olympic basketball         ment for someone who never had aspira-         human being she is. * “In general, I
     teams, his record-         tions for professional basketball. I was a     appreciate that I have these symbols—this
     making inductions          Brooklyn baseball fan, and when it came        jewelry—that reminds me of my accom-
     into the hall of fame      to basketball I never got picked first, so I   plishments. But when we achieve certain
     and everything in          became determined to learn this game           things we then have to understand about
     between—that he says       and become proficient in it. * “The rings      giving back. I often tell people that life is a
     he’s not even sure of      came later in my career, but you could say     gift. Do as much as you can and have fun
     the exact number. but
                                the ‘symbols’ began with trophies for          with it. And that includes not only wanting
     while wilkens values
                                youth games and the like, and in college       to be successful, but wanting to be
     these symbols of his
     achievements and the       they gave us watches: a Bulova imprinted       involved in the world around you. My
     stories they carry, it     with a National Invitational Tournament        foundation, for instance, is very special to
     is the lenny wilkens       medallion and a Longines embedded with         me; it is something I do because I want to,
     foundation, which          two small diamonds. The first real ring        and now it has become a symbol of my
     wilkens founded to         was for making the NBA All-Star team in        achievements. * “For me, sports became
     deliver healthcare and     1963, and then several more followed.          a way of life, but it also became a stepping
     education services         Those were all great, but the rings that are   stone, a way of growing and developing as a
     to young people, that      most unique to me are the ones from the        human being. My mother taught me to let
     currently makes him        Hall of Fame, the Olympics, the 50             honesty, integrity and dignity define my
     the proudest. here, he     Greatest Players and the 1979 Sonics           character. Even more than all the rings,
     tells the stories behind   championship. It’s true there are now          those three things are the real symbols you
     his success.               many rings, but they are all beautiful and     carry with you all the time.”




                                     opposite: Lenny WiLkens,
                                     Wearing some of his many
                                     rings, and (above) the
                                     three he received from the
                                     basketbaLL haLL of fame.
                                     photographs by dave sizer.
66   bejeweled                                                                                                                   bejeweled   67