George Mikan was the brightest star of early professional basketball. His dominance in the early 1940's resulted in the widening of the foul lane, the introduction of the goaltending rule, and the shot clock. However, he very rarely gets the recognition he deserves because, as is often stated, he looked like a 6'10" accountant, not a modern basketball player, with thick glasses and a general nerdy aura about him; he wouldn't be getting many calls from And1, that's for certain. He and his dynastic Minneapolis Lakers teams of the 50's also get little respect because of the era they played in, a supposedly inferior one. However, it's impossible to overlook Mikan once one takes a look at the incredible stats he put up in his short time in the league.
"He could raise that left elbow and move to the basket, and the bodies would just start to fly," - Swede Carlson, teammate.
George Mikan grew up during a period in basketball when the best players were small. Early basketball was a game for the quick, the agile, and George Mikan was neither. He grew to 6' by the age of 11, and between this and his glasses he wasn't much of a basketball player in his youth. He drew little attention from colleges, except for DePaul, whose coach at the time, Ray Meyer, worked on Mikan's coordination and fundamentals. By the time he entered college basketball he was a wrecking-ball, ending his three year career (freshmen didn't play on the varsity at the time) with 1,870 points to his name. He played a year as a member of the Chicago Gears (if anyone has the stats from this part of his career, a msg would be nice.) and then joined the Minneapolis Lakers, where he would begin his reign atop the NBA. The Lakers won 5 titles with Mikan at the helm, in 1948-49, 1949-50, 1951-52, 1952-53, and 1953-54. He led the league in scoring three times, and finished in the top five thrice more. He also led the league in rebounding one year. At the age of thirty he retired, citing all of the injuries he had received to that point. He came back for one final year in 1955, and then retired for good. He was later voted as the top basketball player of the first half century by the Associated Press. He was among the first players elected to the basketball hall of fame in 1959.
Year Games Points PPG Rebounds RPG Assists APG
1948-49 60 1698 28.3 N/A N/A 218 3.6
1949-50 68 1865 27.4 N/A N/A 197 2.9
1950-51 68 1932 28.4 958 14.1 208 3.1
1951-52 64 1523 23.8 866 13.5 194 3.0
1952-53 70 1442 20.6 1007 14.4 201 2.9
1953-54 72 1306 18.1 1028 14.3 174 2.4
1954-55 Did not Play--Retired
1955-56 37 390 10.5 308 8.3 53 1.4
Career 439 10156 23.1 4167 9.5 1245 2.8
BrooksMarlin says re George Mikan: Mikan scored 193 points in 8 games for the Chicago Gears, for a 24.1 avg. He was also my grandpa's roomate in college! :-)
Sources: Stats from www.basketballreference.com, Most other information is easily available from a multitude of sources.