High school basketball was big when we were in school. And a lot of
high school players from around here were good enough to go on and
play at the university level. Afterwards, some of them came back to
the area. A local hotel owner, Bill "Spiker" Boehme got several of
them together into a team called the Brig Bombers. They got good
enough so that after a while they could not find anyone to play
against them. So, watch what happens next. You have to have a
little bit of moxie to pull something like this off. This is taken from
the Rapids Tribune (with permission) in early February of 1956.
“Array of Stars Play Here Feb. 23
George Mikan Leads Team in Exhitition Against Bombers
It’s official now. The team that has been basketball’s greatest
attraction for the past nine years, the Minneapolis Lakers, will
play here in an exhibition against the classy Brig Bombers on
Thursday night, Feb. 23, at Lincoln Fieldhouse. - -
Spearheaded by the great George Mikan “Mr. Basketball,” the
Lakers were considered by many to be one of the greatest
basketball teams ever assembled as they ruled the roost in the
National Basketball Association for the first eight years after
they were organized. - - “
So who the heck were the Minneapolis Lakers, and
who in the world was George Mikan? Well, he
was the greatest basketball player of all time,
playing on the greatest basketball team of all
time. Mr. Mikan had just led the Minneapolis
Lakers to their fifth NBA world championship.
Look at the marque sign on the right at Madison
Square Garden. They don't say his team is
playing there. They say "he" is playing there. He
was the first great basketball center. He
significantly changed how basketball was played.
Shaquille O'Neil said recently that "without
George Mikan, there would have been no Shaq".
And our hero, Spider Boehme, had talked them
into playing here, in Wisconsin Rapids, against his
group of local hot shots. Wow!