When I first learned the game of basketball I would go to the library (actually the Hudson Library and Historical Society - Now with a new building!) and pick up every book on basketball they had. I learned that the NBA started in 1948, there was no 3 point line, 3 second rule or shot clock and the Lakers were origionally from Minnesota.
Mikan's Minneapolis Lakers won 5 of the NBA's first 6 titles, making them the first dynasty and Mikan the games first dominant big man.
Mikan died Wednesday night at the age of 80.