Home Community Tough Tofu Lenny


By Deems Tsutakawa
For The North American Post

I am, of course, a sports fan but in particular an absolute hoops junkie. During the hey day of the Seattle Supersonics, I would have dreams of playing basketball with the likes of Gary Peyton, Shawn Kemp and Downtown Fred Brown. Although we no longer have an NBA team, I enjoy and follow professional ball on a daily basis during the regular season and playoffs with great joy.

That being said, when I got the opportunity to meet the great Lenny Wilkins, who has won NBA titles as both a coach and a player, I did not hesitate for one second. Besides being a member of The Basketball Hall of Fame, Wilkins is an active supporter of various charity organizations.

Upon approaching Lenny at a wedding reception, I put out my hand and announced that I am a fan of his. Mr. Wilkins immediate reply was, “Deems, I am a fan of yours and love your music.” Quite a compliment for an ordinary jazz musician from one that has seen the top of his profession.

A few months after meeting Lenny, I got a call to play piano for a fundraiser to benefit Mr. Wilkins’ favorite charity, The Odessa Brown Childrens Clinic of Seattle.

The party was held at a huge house in the very exclusive Hunts Point/Bellevue neighborhood. The owner had a beautiful 7-foot Yamaha grand piano and hired a sound company to mic it so as to be heard throughout the lakefront property.

After receiving a generous honorarium for my performance the host asked me how many CDs I had on hand to sell. I said about 40 or so, and his reply was “I’ll purchase all of them to give to my guests.” It was a cash transaction and made for a pleasant drive home.


[Editor’s Note]
Deems Tsutakawa is a local Sansei musician. He can be reached at deemst@deemsmusic.com.

Previous articleHaruko Tokita, Mother of the Year in 1967
Next articleJapan’s Museum Becomes New World Heritage Site
The North American Post is a community newspaper that celebrates Japanese culture in the Greater Seattle area. Founded by 1st generation Japanese-Americans in 1902, the publication is one of the oldest minority-owned newspapers in the region. Today, with bilingual articles in English and Japanese, the publication connects readers with diverse cultural backgrounds to Seattle’s Japanese community. Our articles include local news, event calendars, restaurant reviews, Japanese cooking recipes, community interviews, and more.