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The Los Angeles Lakers are tied with the Boston Celtics for the most NBA titles by a single franchise in NBA history with 17.
Eleven of those rings were earned in Los Angeles after the Lakers moved from Minneapolis in 1960 with stars such as Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal sharing time as the faces of the franchise.
But the Minneapolis Lakers and their five NBA championships are often an afterthought, rarely mentioned when the Lakers’ success is discussed.
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The leader of those teams, George Mikan, is finally getting his due. The Lakers announced they will retire Mikan’s jersey No. 99 Oct. 30 when the Lakers play the Denver Nuggets.
Mikan’s jersey will become the 11th Laker number to be retired, joining Johnson, Bryant, O’Neal, Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich, James Worthy, Jerry West and Jamaal Wilkes in the rafters at Crypto.com Arena.
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Mikan, who died in 2005, played seven years in the NBA, all with the Minneapolis Lakers. His career began in 1948 and ended in 1956, and he made four All-Star teams and won five championships.
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He averaged 23.1 points, 13.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Mikan’s career points-per-game average is sixth most for any Laker player.
His dominance during his time still impacts the game today, with the league introducing the goaltending rule and the widening of the lane to 12 feet due to Mikan’s presence.
Mikan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1959 and was named to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team last season.