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Mr. Basketball: George Mikan, the Minneapolis Lakers, and the Birth of the NBA Hardcover – October 30, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1st edition (October 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596912138
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596912137
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,944,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Schumacher (Family Business) explores the on-court life and legacy of George Mikan, the big man who revolutionized both college and professional basketball as a dominant center in the '40s and '50s and as the American Basketball Association's first commissioner in the 1960s. Several rules in the modern game were enacted to offset 6'10 Mikan's uncommon height advantage at the time: his shot-blocking ability for DePaul University led to the goaltending rule in college basketball in 1943, and his rebounding and scoring for the Minneapolis Lakers prompted the nascent NBA to widen the free-throw lane from six feet to 12 feet in 1951. Wilt Chamberlain described Mikan as the first true superstar of the league, and Shaquille O'Neal, who paid for Mikan's funeral when he died in 2005 in dire financial straits due to the expenses of his health problems, said, Without George Mikan, there is no me. A native of Joliet, Ill., Mikan was from a Croatian family and remained a true Midwesterner to the end, Schumacher writes. Schumacher's narrative sometimes gets bogged down with tedious, almost box score–like itemizing of the numerous games from Mikan's college and pro careers. Recounting these games in such specifics will be of interest to hardcore fans of the early pro game, but it does little to shed light on the man off the basketball court. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Mikan was basketball's first great big man. At nearly seven feet, he came to the nation's attention in the 1940s as an awkward behemoth at Chicago's DePaul University. But through hard work under the tutelage of coach Ray Meyer, he became the dominant collegiate player of his era and subsequently went on to star for the Minneapolis Lakers of the fledgling NBA. Beyond his size and basketball ability, Mikan was a regular guy, a stereotypical midwesterner—family man, married for 58 years. Biographies of regular guys can be a bit bland, so Schumacher wisely blends Mikan's story with a history of the rough-and-tumble infancy of professional basketball. In those early days, the one player capable of filling the stands was Mikan, and it was on his broad back that the league began to establish itself. Research included dozens of interviews with family, teammates, coaches, and friends as well as voluminous secondary sources. Although it's an excellent source of information on an early superstar, the real value of this volume is as a guide to the NBA's nascent years. Lukowsky, Wes

More About the Author

Michael Schumacher has written twelve books, including "Mighty Fitz: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald" (Minnesota, 2012) and "Wreck of the Carl D.," and twenty-five documentaries on Great Lakes shipwrecks and lighthouses. He lives in Wisconsin.

Customer Reviews

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See all 7 customer reviews
George is not the oaf many modern people think he is.
John Aquilegia
Once we get past the fact that he was a genuine person who was smart and slow to anger, it's not a particularly full portrait.
WDX2BB
My message to hack authors: really do your homework and dig deep before you write or don't write.
Dennis P. Anderson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dennis P. Anderson on November 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
Several of the other Amazon "reviews" for this book merely state facts about Mikan and The Lakers and NOT about the book. I bought it with the intent of really learning about this wonderful man and the team. I grew up in Minneapolis in the 1950s. After reading the book, I essentially learned nothing new about George Mikan, his interests, motivations, relationships, family times and adjustments, law practice, etc. The writing style is pedestrian, there is really little about Mikan that is insightful. The author claims to have interviewed Mikan's widow and children. He obviously does not know how to dig deep in conducting an interview to capture the human interest of his subject in the printed word. What a shame. George Mikan deserves better. Now I am going to try and find a copy of his autobiography, which is supposed to be out of print, to see if I can learn some insights about this unique man.

Superficially- written biographies and historical accounts are a dime a dozen these days. This is one of them. My message to hack authors: really do your homework and dig deep before you write or don't write.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Norman Jones on July 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
Although this book is a little light on George Mikan's personal life, it is a nice re-count of his accomplishments in basketball. Readers must concentrate on the title and consider that Mikan helped tremendously in getting the NBA up and running. His star power launched the NBA into what it has become today. A great memory for me about Mikan is that I was playing for a small college in Indiana (Manchester) and we played at DePaul well after Mikan had graduated. Ray Meyer was still the coach and the school made sure that visiting teams had to run past an almost full length picture of Mikan on the way to the floor. Mikan's stature is still remembered by all of those who saw him play and own the lanes in basketball in the late 1940s and 50s. This is a good book for those who want to learn more about how the NBA got started and about one of the most dominant players and one of the most legendary teams in basketball history. Norman Jones, Ed. D. author of Growing Up in Indiana: The Culture & Hoosier Hysteria Revisited and Main St. vs. Wall St.: Wake-up Calls for America's Leaders.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey C. Bullock on April 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
By "typical book," I mean that it covers Mikan's career in great detail, give you some early biographical info, and then zips thru this post career life in mere seconds, until coverage of his death - maybe there isn't much happening after an athlete retires but it should would be nice to see some real research every once in a while. Wait for this to come out in paperback - in fact, wait for it to come out in mass market paperback - either that or in your library's discard pile.
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By Chuck on February 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Truly taken with the awesome history of this first giant of the NBA.

Not only a wonderful basketball player bbut a real decent individual.

Schumacher really hit all of the major points needed to better understand this man.
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