Friday, December 10, 2010

The First Big Man of the NBA - George Mikan

  George Mikan ,who was born in a Croatian family in Illinois, was the best basketball player in the USA in 1944. He was the first dominant "big man" in NBA, known as the "Gentle Giant". He was averaging 22.6 points per game over his nine years long professional career, with the then record of 11,764 points.
  The Associated Press voted Mikan the greatest basketball player of the first half of the 20th century. When Mikan's LA Lakers came to Madison Square Garden, the marquee simply advertized "Tonight George Mikan versus the Knicks!". Just imagine how popular he was back then?

The funniest part of the story is that Mikan's teammates were fully dressed in the locker room, and when he asked what was happening, they said: "It's your name written on the entrance, you should play alone against Knicks!".

  The game was much tougher than and that's why big George suffered a lot of injuries : he lost four teeth (in his first professional game), had two broken legs, three broken fingers, broken wrist, broken nose and dozens of stitches.

  George Mikan was named one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players in 1996 (on the occasion of 50 years of NBA), played four NBA all-star games, and is in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

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