Nearly 2 decades following his passing, Lakers are finally doing what’s right, retiring no.99 of George Mikan forever in a pre-game ceremony.

George Mikan : Jersey | No. 99 jersey retire | Lakers

George Lawrence Mikan Jr, 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).

George Mikan : Jersey | No. 99 jersey retire | Lakers

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”.

Mikan died in Scottsdale, Arizona, on June 1, 2005, of complications from diabetes and other ailments. His son Terry reported that his father had undergone dialysis three times a week, four hours a day, for the last five years.

George Mikan jersey 

The Los Angeles Lakers will retire the No. 99 jersey worn by George Mikan when he led the then-Minneapolis Lakers to six championships from 1949-54 before Sunday evening’s game against the Denver Nuggets at Arena.

Mikan will be the 11th Laker to have his jersey retired and the first to have not played in Los Angeles. The team will retire the No. 16 jersey worn by Pau Gasol on March 7, when it plays host to the Memphis Grizzlies, the team Gasol began his NBA career with.

George Mikan : Jersey | No. 99 jersey retire | Lakers

No Lakers player has worn No. 99 since Mikan’s retirement in 1956.

The 6-foot-10-inch Mikan was professional basketball’s first dominant center. In his eight seasons with the Lakers, Mikan was a four-time scoring leader and led the NBA in rebounds in the 1952-53 season, the third season the statistic was kept. Before the 1969-70 season, league leaders in points, rebounds and assists were determined by totals rather than averages.

Mikan was the first player in NBA history to score 10,000 points.

The NBA did not have an MVP award until the 1955-56 season, Mikan’s final season.

Mikan joined the Lakers in 1947, when they played in the National Basketball League, in a dispersal system after his first professional team, the Chicago American Gears, folded. He was the league’s MVP and leading scorer in the 1947-48 season, leading the Lakers to the championship.

The Lakers moved to the Basketball Association of America — the precursor of the NBA — the following season and again won the championship, with Mikan again the league’s leading scorer. Its three seasons have retroactively been considered NBA seasons and records recognized by the league.

No. 99 Jersey retire 

No Lakers player has worn No. 99 since Mikan’s retirement in 1956. Now the Los Angeles Lakers will retire the No. 99 jersey worn by George Mikan.

George Mikan : Jersey | No. 99 jersey retire | Lakers

The 1948 National Basketball League MVP and four-time All-Star helped lead the then-Minneapolis Lakers to five championships (1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954) and was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1959. Donning a Lakers uniform, Mikan led the league in scoring in three consecutive seasons (1948-51) and was the league’s leading rebounder in back-to-back campaigns (1951-53).

The six-time All-NBA First Team selection averaged 23.1 points, 13.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists in his career. The Illinois native was recently named to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team.

Mikan ranks sixth on the Lakers all-time free throws made list (3,068), 11th in points (10,156), 12th in field goals made (3,544) and 16th in rebounds (4,167).

Across Lakers playoff records, Mikan sits seventh in free throws made (554), 10th in points (1,680), 12th in field goals made (563) and 12th in rebounds (665).

Following his retirement, Mikan coached the Lakers for a portion of the 1957-58 season and was the first commissioner of the American Basketball Association, serving from 1967-69.

He died June 1, 2005, at the age of 80.

George Mikan Lakers 

In his first season with the Lakers, Mikan led the league in scoring with 1,195 points, becoming the only NBL player to score more than 1,000 points in an NBL season. Following the regular season, he was named the league’s MVP. and the Lakers won the NBL title.

George Mikan : Jersey | No. 99 jersey retire | Lakers

In April 1948, he led the Lakers to victory in the World Professional Basketball Tournament where he was named MVP after scoring a tournament-record 40 points against the New York Renaissance in the title-clinching game.

The following year, the Lakers and three other NBL franchises jumped to the fledgling Basketball Association of America. Mikan led his new league in scoring, and again set a single-season scoring record. The Lakers defeated the Washington Capitols in the 1949 BAA Finals.

In 1949, the BAA and NBL merged to form the NBA. The new league started the inaugural 1949–50 NBA season, featuring 17 teams, with the Lakers in the Central Division.

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.

After comfortably leading his team to an impressive 51–17 record and storming through the playoffs, Mikan’s team played the 1950 NBA Finals against the Syracuse Nationals. In Game 1, the Lakers beat Syracuse on their home court when Lakers reserve guard Bob Harrison hit a 40-foot buzzer beater to give Minneapolis a two-point win.

The team split the next four games, and in Game 6, the Lakers won 110–95 and won the first-ever NBA championship. Mikan scored 31.3 points per game in the playoffs.

By Rishabh

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