Vern Mikkelsen, the Basketball Hall of Famer for his exploits with the Minneapolis Lakers and Hamline, died on Thursday night.
His son, John, said Vern died peacefully and in the company of family. Vern had turned 85 on Oct. 21 and lived in Wayzata.
Arild Verner Mikkelsen grew up in Askov, Minn., and was a standout player at Hamline during that university’s basketball glory days in the 1940s. He signed with the Minneapolis Lakers and played 10 seasons, making six NBA All-Star teams and playing on four championship teams.
He scored more than 10,000 points and also set an NBA record for most games fouled out. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995, along with his close friend and LAkers coach John Kundla.
His wife, Jean, died 11 years ago. He has two sons, John and Tom, and two grandchildren, Kyler, 12, and Caden, 10.
Four years ago, amid false reports that Vern had passed away, I wrote this column.
Much respect for what he's help done for the Lakers franchise. R.I.P. to one of the great Laker OG's.