He was born 30 miles north of Pittsburgh in Ford City, Pennsylvania, and took up refereeing when officials for a high school game failed to show up. During the 1940s, the 6'1" Mihalik played professionally for the Pittsburgh Ironmen of the Basketball Association of American and the Youngstown Bears of the National Basketball League. He then embarked upon a long officiating career, working games for the NBA, NCAA, Summer Olympics and still finding time to ref WPIAL High School games in and around Pittsburgh . He was deemed the best official of the game on all levels in the 1950s by Dell Publications. He was widely considered just that until an oncourt knee injury forced him into retirement in 1972. Widely considered one of the best basketball referees in history, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1986. He was inducted into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.
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