The NBA and Los Angeles Lakers have lost one of their originals.
Hall of Fame basketball player Vern Mikkelsen, who played all 10 of his NBA seasons with the then-Minneapolis Lakers died at 85, the Lakers announced on Friday.
Mikkelsen passed away on Thursday night surrounded by family. The cause of his death was not disclosed.
“Vern was one of the first in a long line of great Lakers players, and a key link to our franchise’s early years in Minnesota,” Lakers President Jeanie Buss said. “We appreciate his contributions to the Lakers and our legacy, and we send our condolences and best wishes to his family.” Selected in the 1949 draft, Mikkelsen averaged 14.4 points and 9.4 rebounds in his decade with the Lakers, where he was a six-time All-Star selection and a member of four NBA Championship teams (1950 and 1952-54).
Mikkelsen later became the coach and general manager of the ABA’s Minnesota Pipers. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995.