Mikkelsen, circa 1950s
October 21, 1928|
|Died||November 21, 2013
|Listed height||6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)|
|Listed weight||230 lb (104 kg)|
|High school||Askov (Askov, Minnesota)|
|BAA draft||1949 / Pick: Territorial|
|Selected by the Minneapolis Lakers|
|Position||Power forward / Small forward|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Points||10,063 (14.4 ppg)|
|Rebounds||5,940 (9.4 rpg)|
|Assists||1,515 (2.2 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
|Basketball Hall of Fame as player|
|College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006
Arild Verner Agerskov "Vern" Mikkelsen (October 21, 1928 – November 21, 2013) was an American professional basketball player. He was one of the National Basketball Association's first power forwards in the 1950s and was known for his tenacious defense.
Mikkelsen was born in Parlier, California and was raised in the Danish-American community of Askov, Minnesota. His father, Michael, was an immigrant from Denmark who became a Lutheran pastor in Askov.
Mikkelsen entered Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota on a basketball scholarship at the age of 16. In his senior year, Mikkelsen led NCAA Division II in field goal percentage. Hamline won the 1949 NAIA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament and Mikkelsen was voted an All-American. He would later receive a master's degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota.
Mikkelsen played with George Mikan and Jim Pollard in the frontcourt of the Minneapolis Lakers. The Lakers won four NBA titles during Mikkelsen's career. Mikkelsen played in six NBA All-Star Games and was named to the All-NBA Second Team four times in his career.
Mikkelsen ended his career after ten seasons in the NBA in 1959, having played in 699 of a possible 704 regular season games. He led the NBA in both personal fouls and disqualifications for three straight seasons during his career, and finished his career with 10,063 points scored. Mikkelsen still holds the league record for career disqualifications with 127, which he did in only 631 games — disqualifications were not recorded in the NBA until his second season.
Honors and awards
In 1956, Mikkelsen was inducted into the NAIA Basketball Hall of Fame.
In 2002, during halftime of a Lakers/Timberwolves game, Mikkelsen and fellow Hall of Fame teammates George Mikan, Slater Martin, Arlee Pollard (widow of Jim Pollard), Clyde Lovellette and Coach John Kundla were each presented with championship rings. The Minneapolis players received the same rings provided by the NBA to the champion Los Angeles Lakers that same year.
Personal life and family
Mikkelsen's wife Jean died in 2002 after 47 years of marriage. Their two sons are named Tom and John. In 2006 a biography was published by John Egan titled The Vern Mikkelsen Story.
- "4-time NBA champion Vern Mikkelsen dies at 85", The Washington Post, November 22, 2013
- Goldstein, Richard (November 22, 2013), "Vern Mikkelsen, Hall of Famer Who Won Four Titles With the Lakers, Dies at 85", The New York Times
- NBA Register: 1986-87 Edition. The Sporting News Publishing Company. 1986. p. 337. ISBN 9780892042272.
- Remember the ABA: Pittsburgh/Minnesota Pipers Archived March 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.