Number 14 – Vern Mikkelsen
With little record kept of in-game moments from the California native, due to it being the 1950s of course, we decided to recap the Power Forward’s experience during his rookie season in which his team won the first-ever NBA championship in 1950.
Here is an excerpt from ‘The Greatest Lakers of All-Time: Vern Mikkelsen‘:
In 1949, the BAA and NBL merged to give forge to the NBA. Consisting of 17 teams spread over 3 divisions in its inaugural season, with the Minneapolis Lakers being assigned to the Central Division. The first game was played on Saturday, October 29, 1949, with the Denver Nuggets visiting the Tri-Cities Blackhawks (later becoming the Atlanta Hawks).
The Lakers finished the season 1st in the Central Division with a record of 51-17, coming 4th in the NBA in points scoring 84.1 PPG. They then had to play a 1 game tiebreaker against the Rochester Royals (later becoming the Sacramento Kings) to decide who would take the number 1 seed in the Central Division. The Lakers went on to beat the Royals 78-76. Mikkelsen scored 12 points in the game, with his colleague George Mikan leading the scoring charge with 35 points.
Securing the 1 seed, the Lakers would then go onto play in a Central Division Semifinal against the Chicago Stags in a best of 3 series. The Lakers took the first game 85-75 with Mikkelsen scoring 14 points, Minneapolis was once again lead by Mikan with 30 points.
To read on, make sure to go and check out the original article.
Selected with a territorial pick by the Minneapolis Lakers in the 1949 BAA draft, Vern Mikkelsen went on to win 6 All-Star selections, 4 All-NBA selections, 4 NBA Championships and an Inductee to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Never having the privilege of seeing the bright lights of Los Angeles, it can’t be forgotten the role Mikkelsen played in helping build what the Los Angeles Lakers are today. It’s a well-earned place on this list as a Laker great.