The man responsible for creating the Minneapolis Lakers, Sid Hartman, died Sunday. Hartman was 100 years old, and was an iconic sports columnist and radio personality in Minnesota for decades.
"My father's extraordinary and resilient life has come to a peaceful conclusion surrounded by his family," his son, Chad Hartman, tweeted Sunday afternoon.
Throughout his exhaustive sports writing career, Hartman covered NBA stars in Minneapolis from the likes of George Mikan to Karl-Anthony Towns. However, it was his involvement in bringing the Lakers to Minneapolis that is perhaps is most iconic feat.
Back in 1946, Hartman offered $15,000 to the owner of the Detroit Gems of what was then the National Basketball League, to bring the team to Minneapolis. Just 26 years old at the time, Hartman saw that there was major interest in bringing professional basketball to Minnesota, and after writing a check to Gems owner Morris Winston, not only had he secured the team to come to Minneapolis, but because Detroit was a last-placed team, it meant the the newly formed Minneapolis Lakers had the draft rights to the highly-touted George Mikan.
Hartman became the unofficial first general manager of the Minneapolis Lakers, and led by Mikan, the franchise won a championship in its first season in 1949. Before the team relocated to Los Angeles in 1960, the Lakers won five championships in 12 seasons while in Minnesota, including a three-peat from 1952-1954.
Hartman was a central figure in building the first NBA dynasty with the Lakers, and orchestrated a plan to try and get Celtics legend Bill Russell to Minneapolis. Hartman wanted to trade away several players to the Celtics in hopes that it would give the Lakers a better shot at drafting Russell after a standout collegiate career. The trade never materialized with Boston, because Lakers ownership stepped in and vetoed it.
That move by the ownership caused Hartman to quit his job with the Lakers. But he later said that being the general manager for that team back in those days was the "most fun" he had throughout his illustrious career.
While Hartman was overseeing most of the basketball operations for the Lakers, he was still working as a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.The Minneapolis native wrote columns for the paper several days a week until his death, where he amassed 21,235 bylines, per the Star Tribune's count.