George Lawrence Mikan, Jr.
June 18, 1924
June 1, 2005
1939-40 Joliet Catholic High School - Illinois (High School)
1940-41 Joliet Catholic High School - Illinois (High School)
1941-42 Joliet Catholic High School - Illinois (High School)
1942-43 DePaul University (College) Freshmen
1943-44 DePaul University (College)
1944-45 DePaul University (College)
1945-46 DePaul University (College)
1946-47 Chicago American Gears (NBL)
1947-48 Chicago Gears (PBLA)
1947-48 Minneapolis Lakers (NBL)
1948-49 Minneapolis Lakers (BAA)
1949-50 Minneapolis Lakers (NBA)
1950-51 Minneapolis Lakers (NBA)
1951-52 Minneapolis Lakers (NBA)
1952-53 Minneapolis Lakers (NBA)
1953-54 Minneapolis Lakers (NBA)
1955-56 Minneapolis Lakers (NBA)
1957-58 Minneapolis Lakers (NBA) - Head coach
NATIONAL BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME, 1959
One of the first superstars of the sport, Mikan had shattered his knee as a kid that left him bedridden for almost a year. Despite his lankiness (6'10 250 lbs) and near-sightedness, Mikan left Quigley Prep Seminary to finish high school at Joliet Catholic, and moved on to DePaul where he was a two-time player of the year. Mikan became the first player to really prove that people of his height could be coordinated enough to be an effective basketball player. The modern game's goaltending rule exists solely from Mikan, who deflected many an oppnent's shot as it approached the rim.
After college, Mikan joined with the American Gears, and followed them into the PBLA the next season, but once the Gears (and the PBLA) folded early into the league's inaugural season, and Mikan was handed over the Lakers, where he played until his retirement after the 1953-54 season.
After a season hiatus, Mikan returned for one more season before quitting playing for good. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 1956, and after losing a close race, returned to the NBA to coach the Lakers. Minneapolis went 9-30 under Mikan before stepping down. Done with basketball, he went on to practice law and work in real estate until he a decade later, when became the first commissioner of the ABA.
Mikan fought hard for many years to get pensions for retired players. Saddled with kidney problems and diabetes, his illnesses took his leg, and eventually his life. He died in 2005.
He was married to Patricia and had six kids: sons Larry (George Lawrence Mikan III), Terry, Patrick and Michael, and daughters Trisha and Maureen.