Arild Verner Agerskov "Vern" Mikkelsen
One of the game's first true power forwards at both the college and professional level, Vern Mikkelsen grabbed rebounds and scored points in the paint with ease. At 6-foot-7, 230 pounds, the congenial Mikkelsen was an intense rebounder on the court who ferociously defended and guarded the era's top forwards. At Hamline University he was an All-America and led the school to the 1949 NAIA championship. That same year, he turned pro and began his ten-year residency with the Minneapolis Lakers. Teams were so outmatched by Mikkelsen's strength, size, and technique that the opposition used stalling tactics to keep the ball away from the Lakers dominating frontcourt of Mikkelsen, George Mikan, and Jim Pollard. One of the league's strongest players, Mikkelsen played in 699 of 704 games and used his sturdy frame to become only the sixth player in NBA history to score more than 10,000 points.