In 1952, George Mikan set a then-record by recording 47 points during a Minneapolis Lakers playoffs game against the Rochester Royals. The Lakers lost 88-78 during Game 1 of the 1952 Western Division Finals. Mikan is credited as one of the pioneers of modern, basketball by bringing big men (he was 6’10”) to the professional arena. He played for three basketball leagues – the National Basketball League (NBL), the Basketball Association of America (BAA), and the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was known for his rebounding skills, shot-blocking, ambidextrous hook shot, and underhanded free-throw. Mikan won seven championships (NBL, BAA, and NBA) and an NBA All-Star MVP award in 1948. He played one year with the NBL’s Chicago American Gears before the team folded. He was transferred to the Minneapolis Lakers in 1947. The team switched to the BAA and then became an NBA team when the leagues merged in 1949. After his professional playing career, he became the commissioner for the American Basketball Association (ABA) from 1967-69. He is remembered as one of professional basketball’s original centers. He retired with 11,764 points (22.6 ppg) and an average of 13.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 520 NBL, BAA, and NBA games.
Today in Sports History: March 29