| DIED |
At age 86 after a brief illness, Hall of Fame Minneapolis Lakers guard Slater Martin (below). Martin won four championships—three in a row from 1952 through '54— with the Lakers, who were led by the NBA's first superstar, center George Mikan. A prototypical point guard, Martin left an indelible legacy of sharp passing and defense. "I think he's the best defensive guard that ever lived. That includes all the ones right now," said Sid Hartman, the Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist who worked as acting general manager for the Lakers for much of their time in Minnesota. Martin signed out of Texas in '49, played seven seasons with Minneapolis before being traded to the Knicks. In midseason New York sent him to the St. Louis Hawks, where he won his fifth title—and the only one in the history of the franchise—in '58, before retiring in '60. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in '82.