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Vern Mikkelsen

Vern Mikkelsen
Personal information
Born (1928-10-21)October 21, 1928
Parlier, California
Died November 21, 2013(2013-11-21) (aged 85)
Wayzata, Minnesota
Nationality American
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Career information
High school Askov (Askov, Minnesota)
College Hamline (1945–1949)
NBA draft 1949 / Pick: Territorial
Selected by the Minneapolis Lakers
Pro career 1949–1959
Position Power forward / Small forward
Number 19
Career history
As player:
19491959 Minneapolis Lakers
As coach:
1968–1969 Minnesota Pipers (ABA)
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points 10,063 (14.4 ppg)
Rebounds 5,940 (9.4 rpg)
Assists 1,515 (2.2 apg)
Stats at
Basketball Hall of Fame as player

Arild Verner Agerskov "Vern" Mikkelsen (October 21, 1928 – November 21, 2013) was an American professional basketball player. He was one of the NBA's first power forwards in the 1950s and was known for his tenacious defense.[1]

Early life

Mikkelsen was born in Parlier, California and was raised in the Danish-American community of Askov, Minnesota. His father, Michael, was an immigrant from Denmark who became a Lutheran pastor in Askov.[2]

Mikkelsen entered Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota on a basketball scholarship at the age of 16. In his senior year, Mikkelsen led NCAA Division II in field goal percentage.[3] Hamline won the 1949 NAIA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament[2] and Mikkelsen was voted an All-American. He would later receive a masters degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota.

Professional basketball

Mikkelsen played with George Mikan and Jim Pollard in the frontcourt of the Minneapolis Lakers. The Lakers won four NBA titles during Mikkelsen's career.[1] Mikkelsen played in six NBA All-Star Games and was named to the All-NBA Second Team four times in his career.

Mikkelsen ended his career after ten seasons in the NBA in 1959, having played in 699 of a possible 704 regular season games. He led the NBA in both personal fouls and disqualifications for three straight seasons during his career, and finished his career with 10,063 points scored. Mikkelsen still holds the league record for career disqualifications with 127, which he did in only 631 games — disqualifications were not recorded in the NBA until his second season.

Honors and awards

In 1956, Mikkelsen was inducted into the NAIA Basketball Hall of Fame.[3]

Mikkelsen was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995 along with Laker coach John Kundla.[2]

In 2002, during halftime of a Lakers/Timberwolves game, Mikkelsen and fellow Hall of Fame teammates George Mikan, Slater Martin, Arlee Pollard (widow of Jim Pollard), Clyde Lovellette and Coach John Kundla were each presented with championship rings. The Minneapolis players received the same rings provided by the NBA to the champion Los Angeles Lakers that same year.


Mikkelsen later coached and was general manager of the Minnesota Pipers of the American Basketball Association.[4]

Personal life and family

Mikkelsen's wife Jean died in 2002 after 47 years of marriage. Their two sons are named Tom and John. In 2006 a biography was published by John Egan titled The Vern Mikkelsen Story.

Mikkelsen died on November 21, 2013 in Wayzata, Minnesota surrounded by his family.[5]


External links