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George Mikan
George-Mikan-II.jpg
Mikan in 1960.
No. 99
Position: Center
League: NBA/NBL/BAA
Personal information
Full name: George Lawrence Mikan Jr.
Born: June 18, 1924
Joliet, Illinois
Died: June 1, 2005 (aged 80)
Scottsdale, Arizona
Nationality: Flag of the United States.png American
Physical stats
Listed height: 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)
Listed weight: 245 lbs (111 kg)
Career information
High school: Joliet Catholic
(Joliet, Illinois)
College: DePaul (1942–1946)
Playing career: 19461954, 1956 (9 years)
Coaching career: 1957–1958 (1 year)
Career history
As player:
1946–1947 Chicago American Gears
19471954
1956
Minneapolis Lakers
As coach:
1957–1958 Minneapolis Lakers
Career highlights and awards

George Lawrence Mikan Jr. (June 18, 1924 – June 1, 2005), nicknamed "Mr. Basketball", was an American professional basketball player for the Chicago American Gears of the National Basketball League (NBL) and the Minneapolis Lakers of the NBL, the Basketball Association of America (BAA), and the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Invariably playing with thick, round spectacles, the 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m), 245 lb (111 kg) Mikan is seen as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, as well as one of the pioneers of professional basketball, redefining it as a game of so-called big men with his prolific rebounding, shot blocking, and his talent to shoot over smaller defenders with his ambidextrous hook shot, the result of the eponymous Mikan Drill. He also utilized the underhanded free-throw shooting technique long before Rick Barry made it his signature shot.

Mikan had a successful playing career, winning seven NBL, BAA, and NBA championships, an NBA All-Star Game MVP trophy, and three scoring titles. He was a member of the first four NBA All-Star games, and the first six All-BAA and All-NBA Teams. Mikan was so dominant that he prompted several rule changes in the NBA: among them, the introduction of the goaltending rule, the widening of the foul lane—known as the "Mikan Rule"—and the creation of the shot clock.

After his playing career, Mikan became one of the founders of the American Basketball Association (ABA), serving as commissioner of the league. He was instrumental in forming the Minnesota Timberwolves. In his later years, Mikan was involved in a long-standing legal battle against the NBA, to increase the meager pensions of players who had retired before the league became lucrative. In 2005, Mikan died of complications from chronic diabetes.

For his accomplishments, Mikan was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1959, made the 25th, 35th, 50th, and 75th NBA anniversary teams. Since April 2001, a statue of Mikan shooting his trademark hook shot stands at the entrance of the Timberwolves' Target Center.

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