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George Mikan

Basketball Player

Died when: 80 years 348 days (971 months)
Star Sign: Gemini


George Mikan

George Lawrence Mikan Jr. (/'ma?k?n/;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 was one of the pioneers of professional basketball.

Through his size and play he redefined it as a game dominated in his day by "big men".His prolific rebounding, shot blocking, and talent to shoot over smaller defenders with his ambidextrous hook shot — the result of the Mikan Drill — created with Ray Meyer, his coach at DePaul University (where Mikan was a three-time All-American), all helped change the game.

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

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 significant rule changes in the NBA, including 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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