Nelson sets NBA career victories record
Published 8:50 am Thursday, April 8, 2010
Don Nelson emerged from the Golden State Warriors locker room all disheveled from a wild celebration after finally overtaking Lenny Wilkens as the NBA’s winningest coach.
His gray hair was soaked to the scalp not with Dom Perignon, but a concoction of fizzy soft drinks after a 116-107 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night gave Nelson win No. 1,333 for his career.
“We didn’t have any champagne bottles, so we took some Sprite and some Mountain Dew and some water and sprayed it all over him,” said Anthony Tolliver, who scored a career-high 34 points.
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How appropriate, because the road to this record has been anything but smooth and easy for one of the league’s true mavericks.
“It’s just such a neat feeling,” Nelson said. “This is probably why we end up coaching, for moments like this.”
In 31 seasons on the bench, Nelson is 1,333-1,061 in a career that has made stops in Milwaukee, Golden State (twice), New York and Dallas. He won five titles as a player, has been named coach of the year three times, but has never made an NBA Finals as a coach.
Through it all, Nelson has always done it his way. He’s clashed with players, management and ownership at various stops along the way and is the only coach with at least 1,000 career victories who has yet to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.