4-time NBA champion Vern Mikkelsen dies at 85

Vern Mikkelsen, left, looks at Lakers championship banners along with James Worthy in April 2002. Mikkelsen, a four-time NBA champion with the Minneapolis Lakers, passed away Thursday.
Mark J. Terrill/AP

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Vern Mikkelsen, a Hall of Fame basketball player who won four NBA titles with the Minneapolis Lakers, has died. He was 85.

The Lakers say Mikkelsen died Thursday.

Mikkelsen was a six-time All-Star forward during 10 seasons with the Lakers. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995.

The Lakers drafted Mikkelsen in 1949. Playing alongside George Mikan and Jim Pollard, Mikkelsen won championships with the Lakers in 1950 and from 1952-54. He retired in 1959 with 10,063 career points.

Lakers President Jeanie Buss says Mikkelsen ''was one of the first in a long line of great Lakers players, and a key link to our franchise's early years in Minnesota.''

Mikkelsen later was the coach and general manager of the ABA's Minnesota Pipers.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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