After a combined 45 years as a player and coach in the NBA, Don Nelson will finally accept his degree from the University of Iowa at the age of 71 on Saturday, The Des Moines Register reported.
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Nelson completed 10 hours of correspondence work in Spanish to earn his degree in physical education. The school reportedly waived his student-teaching requirement in lieu of Nelson’s three decades worth of NBA coaching experience.
Nelson was a two-time All-American at Iowa before he left in 1962 to embark on what became a successful career as a player and coach in the NBA. He won five titles with the Boston Celtics during his 14 years as a player, before going on to coach another 31 seasons.
"It means a lot to me, personally," Nelson, who turns 72 next week, told the paper. "When I went to college, I was the first male in my family with a chance to go. One thing that was important to me was to get a degree. I was in the pros for so long that I had to postpone it until now."
The three-time NBA Coach of the Year, who retired in April 2010 as the game’s winningest coach with 1,335 victories, was voted into the Basketball Hall of Fame last month.