46 Facts About George Mikan


George Mikan utilized the underhanded free-throw shooting technique long before Rick Barry made it his signature shot.


George Mikan had an extremely successful playing career, winning seven NBL, BAA, and NBA championships in nine seasons, an NBA All-Star Game MVP trophy, and three scoring titles.


George Mikan was a member of the first four NBA All-Star games, and the first six All-BAA and All-NBA Teams.


Since April 2001, a statue of George Mikan shooting his trademark hook shot stands at the entrance of the Timberwolves' Target Center.


George Mikan was born in Joliet, Illinois, to a Croatian father, Joseph, and a Lithuanian mother, Minnie, along with brothers Joe and Ed and sister Marie.


George Mikan's grandfather, Juraj Mikan was born in Vivodina, Croatia, then part of Austria-Hungary, in or about 1874.


On October 17,1907, George Mikan's father Joseph was born, and soon thereafter the family moved to Joliet, where they opened George Mikan's Tavern at the corner of Elsie Avenue and North Broadway.


In 1938, George Mikan attended the Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary in Chicago and originally wanted to be a Catholic priest but later moved back home to finish at Joliet Catholic.


Meyer saw potential in George Mikan, who was bright and intelligent but was clumsy and shy.


Meyer and George Mikan worked out intensively, and George Mikan learned how to make hook shots accurately with either hand.


George Mikan dominated his peers from the start of his National Collegiate Athletic Association college games at DePaul.


George Mikan intimidated opponents with his size and strength, was unstoppable on offense with his hook shot, and soon established a reputation as one of the hardest and grittiest players in the league, often playing through injuries and punishing opposing centers with hard fouls.


George Mikan was named the Helms NCAA College Player of the Year in 1944 and 1945 and was an All-American three times.


George Mikan led the Gears to third place finish at the 1946 World Professional Basketball Tournament, where he was elected Most Valuable Player after scoring 100 points in five games, and voted into the All-NBL Team.


George Mikan led his new league in scoring, and again set a single-season scoring record.


George Mikan again was dominant, averaging 27.4 points per game and 2.9 assists per game and taking another scoring title; Alex Groza of Indianapolis Olympians was the only other player to break the 20-point-barrier that year.


In that year, George Mikan participated in one of the most notorious NBA games ever played.


Decades later, in 1990, George Mikan recalled that his leg was taped with a plate; however, despite effectively hopping around the court on one foot, he said he still averaged 20-odd points per game.


George Mikan still pulled down 13.5 rebounds per game, asserting himself as a top rebounder, and logged 3.0 assists per game.


George Mikan grabbed 36 rebounds, a record at the time.


Perpetually double-teamed by Knicks' Nat Clifton and Harry Gallatin, George Mikan was unable to assert himself and it was more Vern Mikkelsen's credit that the first six games were split.


George Mikan played in 37 games, but his long absence had affected his play.


George Mikan averaged only 10.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists, and the Lakers lost in the first round of the playoffs.


George Mikan was inducted into the inaugural Basketball Hall of Fame class of 1959 and was declared the greatest player of the first half of the century by The Associated Press.


In 1956, George Mikan was the Republican candidate for the United States Congress in Minnesota's 3rd congressional district.


George Mikan challenged incumbent Representative Roy Wier in a closely fought race that featured a high voter turnout.


For six months, George Mikan did not get any assignments at all, leaving him in financial difficulties that forced him to cash in on his life insurance.


In 1967, George Mikan returned to professional basketball, becoming the first commissioner of the upstart American Basketball Association, a rival league to the NBA.


George Mikan resigned from the ABA in 1969, but the league continued to operate until 1976.


In 1994, George Mikan became the part-owner and chairman of the board of the Chicago Cheetahs, a professional roller hockey team based in Chicago, that played in Roller Hockey International.


When his medical insurance was cut off, George Mikan soon found himself in severe financial difficulties.


George Mikan died in Scottsdale, Arizona, on June 1,2005, of complications from diabetes and other ailments.


All his life, George Mikan was universally seen as the prototypical "gentle giant", tough and relentless on the court, but friendly and amicable in private life.


George Mikan was the older brother of Ed Mikan, another basketball player for DePaul, the BAA, and the Philadelphia Warriors of the NBA.


George Mikan's death was widely mourned by the basketball world, and brought media attention to the financial struggles of several early-era NBA players.


Bob Cousy remarked that George Mikan figuratively carried the NBA in the early days and single-handedly made the league credible and popular.


George Mikan is lauded as the pioneer of the modern age of basketball.


George Mikan was the original center, who scored 11,764 points, an average of 22.6 per game, retired as the all-time leading scorer and averaged 13.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 520 NBL, BAA and NBA games.


George Mikan won seven NBL, BAA, and NBA championships, an All-Star MVP trophy, and three scoring titles, and was a member of the first four NBA All-Star games and the first six All-BAA and All-NBA Teams.


George Mikan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in its inaugural 1959 class, the first NBA player inducted into the Hall.


When superstar center Shaquille O'Neal became a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, George Mikan appeared on a Sports Illustrated cover in November 1996 with O'Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, calling Abdul-Jabbar and George Mikan the "Lakers legends" to whom O'Neal was compared.


Since April 2001, a statue of George Mikan shooting his trademark hook shot graces the entrance of the Minnesota Timberwolves' Target Center.


George Mikan is honored by a statue and an appearance on a mural in his hometown of Joliet, Illinois.


George Mikan became so dominant that the NBA had to change its rules of play in order to reduce his influence, such as widening the lane from six to twelve feet.


George Mikan played a role in the introduction of the shot clock; and in the NCAA, his dominating play around the basket led to the outlawing of defensive goaltending.


George Mikan was a harbinger of the NBA's future, which would be dominated by tall, powerful players.