Skip to content

NBA Hall of Famer Vern Mikkelsen passes away at age 85

Nov 22, 2013, 4:20 PM EDT

Vern Mikkelsen

“Vern Mikkelsen was the workhorse. He was the guy that took the tough defensive player, rebounded well, was the hard body under the basket. He reminded me of what Dennis Rodman was to the Bulls, what Rodman was to Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. The guy who did the work, the offensive rebounding.”
—Red Kerr, 12-year NBA player who later was a color commentator for the Chicago Bulls. Quote from the book “Lakers Glory.”

——-

Vern Mikkelsen, the Hall of Fame forward who formed a formidable frontcourt with George Mikan for the four-time champion Minneapolis Lakers, has passed away at the age of 85.

Mikkelsen’s son confirmed this to the Pioneer Press in Minneapolis.

“He passed away peacefully,” Mikkelsen’s son, John, said Friday. “He was a prostate cancer survivor of 11 years, then the cancer started moving three, four months ago.

“He lived a full live right to the end. There’s no tragedy here, but a lot of joy. He was my best friend.”

Born Arild Verner Agerskov Mikkelsen in Fresno, California, he was raised and went to high school and college in Minnesota. The Minneapolis Lakers picked him up in 1949 as a territorial selection.

In his 10-year NBA career he averaged 14.4 points and 9.7 rebounds a game as part of the best front line in basketball at the time, paired with the great George Mikan. Mikkelsen was a six-time NBA All-Star, four times named to the All-NBA second team, and he won four rings as part of those Lakers teams.

To give you an idea of his style of play, he used to hold the NBA record for most games fouled out of. You would have loved to have a guy like him on your team.

Our thoughts are with the Mikkelsen family and our condolences for their loss.

Latest Posts
  1. Mark Cuban on bringing back Tyson Chandler: ‘Let’s just say I learn from my mistakes’

    Sep 23, 2014, 11:29 PM EDT

    Tyson Chandler AP

    Cuban let Chandler leave in free agency in the summer following the Mavs’ lone NBA title.

  2. Report: Suns, Eric Bledsoe have ‘made progress’ on a new contract in last couple of days

    Sep 23, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

    No deal yet, but training camp is less than a week away, so both sides are motivated to expedite the process.

  3. Tuesday And-1 Links: Was Mark Jackson fired over religion?

    Sep 23, 2014, 9:16 PM EDT

    Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game Two Getty Images

    Lance Stephenson with a dolphin? We got that.

  4. Report: Michael Beasley reaches agreement with Memphis Grizzlies

    Sep 23, 2014, 8:02 PM EDT

    heat beasley Getty Images

    Memphis is the latest team to try to salvage the former second overall pick in the 2008 draft.

  5. 67RIEFNS No. 6: Return of injured players

    Sep 23, 2014, 6:31 PM EDT

    NBA All-Star Practice NBA All-Star Practice

    Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose among the more intriguing names on the list.

  6. Mavericks unveil fan-designed new 2015-16 “skyline” alternate jerseys

    Sep 23, 2014, 4:16 PM EDT

    dallas Mavericks skyline alternate jersey

    It’s a play off what Seattle and Denver have done before.

  7. Celtics owner, GM both say they want to keep Rajon Rondo in green

    Sep 23, 2014, 3:29 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Clippers Vs. Boston Celtics At TD Garden Getty Images

    Danny Ainge has done a good job with keeping his options open.

  8. Report: NBA not actively investigating source of Luol Deng African comment

    Sep 23, 2014, 2:38 PM EDT

    Adam Silver Adam Silver

    Adam Silver also says league isn’t looking into owners’ pasts

  9. Wizards sign Rasual Butler, Damion James

    Sep 23, 2014, 1:26 PM EDT

    Washington Wizards v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    James reportedly received guaranteed contract

  10. Early new drawings for proposed Warriors arena… that does look like a toilet

    Sep 23, 2014, 12:50 PM EDT

    Warriors-Mission-Bay-Arena-Concept-Design-NW-View-thumb-896x491-860535

    Not a lot of people will see the building from above, and it’s early in the process, but…. that’s not pretty.

  11. Kyle Lowry: Raptors wanted me just as Steve Nash’s backup

    Sep 23, 2014, 12:15 PM EDT

    Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Lakers Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Lakers

    The many times Toronto and Kyle Lowry could have blown it with each other

  12. Dirk Nowitzki developed quicker shot release. That’s just not fair.

    Sep 23, 2014, 11:38 AM EDT

    Philadelphia 76ers v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

    He’s already the best midrange shooter in the game.

  13. Dwyane Wade shows off blood-spattered Dexter shoes (photos)

    Sep 23, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    Dwyane Wade Dwyane Wade

    Heat guard getting style from fictional Miami serial killer

  14. Mavericks sign Doron Lamb

    Sep 23, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    Jimmer Fredette, Doron Lamb Jimmer Fredette, Doron Lamb

    Lamb, after playing for Bucks and Magic, likely to fall out of NBA following training camp

  15. Report: Nets signing Willie Reed

    Sep 23, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Los Angeles D-Fenders v Springfield Armor Los Angeles D-Fenders v Springfield Armor

    Reed, previously a member of Kings and Grizzlies, in line to compete for roster spot

Featured video

What players stood out at World Cup?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. E. Bledsoe (2949)
  2. R. Rondo (2509)
  3. K. Bryant (2076)
  4. L. James (2042)
  5. R. Allen (1939)
  1. N. Young (1794)
  2. R. Rubio (1758)
  3. D. Rose (1491)
  4. J. Hickson (1440)
  5. J. Crawford (1425)