Sport: The Battle of Baskets

In the dressing room before the game, the young giant laced and unlaced his size 13 gym shoes until they were tied just right. He shrugged off sportwriters' questions about his scoring intentions that night, concentrated on taping on a pair of eyeglasses that gave him a Harold Lloyd look. Then George ("Mike") Mikan of the Minneapolis Lakers, the hottest player in pro basketball this season, straightened up to his full 6 ft. 10 in. and answered the reporters: "This is just another game."

The record 8,475 fans who jammed Philadelphia Arena last week seemed more keyed up than Mike Mikan. Their...