The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the NBA’s premier franchises because of their winning ways throughout the decades.
The 2022-23 season marks the 75th anniversary of the Lakers, and in that time, they have been able to capture 17 championships. The Purple and Gold are synonymous with the inception of the NBA and without them, the game of basketball is nowhere near the global entity it is today.
Although the Lakers turned into the juggernaut it is today thanks to Hall of Famers like Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant, the franchise first gained recognition during its successful run in Minnesota as the Minneapolis Lakers. Headlining those teams was George Mikan, who is largely responsible for transforming the sport due to his size and dominance on the interior.
To honor “Mr. Basketball” himself, the Lakers announced that he will have his No. 99 jersey retired during the upcoming season:
5x Champion, All-Star, MVP, and the man behind the Mikan Drill.
On October 30th we celebrate Mr. Basketball. pic.twitter.com/ydUOggbOFQ
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) September 21, 2022
It is a long-time coming for Mikan to have his jersey retired when considering his basketball resume and legacy. At the time, there was no one quite like Mikan, who was able to take over games due to his physical gifts and prolific ability on both ends of the floor.
Not only was Mikan able to overwhelm defenders in the post with his ambidextrous hook shots, but he was also a force as a rebounder and shot blocker.
The legendary big man is responsible for several NBA rule changes including the widening of the foul lane, the goaltending violation and even the creation of the shot clock. Mikan was eventually inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and is finally rightfully getting his due as one of the most prominent figures in Laker history.
Pau Gasol thankful and honored after jersey retirement announcement
The Lakers have a rich history of big men, and they have always been part of titles. For example, Pau Gasol helped lead L.A. to two titles and he is being honored with his own jersey retirement this season in March. When the announcement was made, Gasol expressed his gratitude for the gesture.
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