Lauri Markkanen is a 7 feet tall Finnish basketball player who has been making waves in the National Basketball Association since 2017 when he was selected in the draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves who subsequently traded him to the Chicago Bulls. Despite having only been in the league for a few seasons, the young star has proved his mettle on the court and has gone on to set new records with the Bulls and in the league.
Coming from a sports inclined family, it’s no surprise that Lauri has made remarkable accomplishments as a basketball player. His parents played the sport professionally while his elder brother has gone on to make a name for himself in the world of soccer.
Lauri Markkanen’s Sports Oriented Family
The prolific power forward was born to Pekka and Riikka Markkanen in Vantaa, Finland on May 22nd, 1997. He was, however, raised alongside his elder brothers; Eero and Mikka Markkanen in the city of Jyuväskylä.
Lauri’s parents laid the foundations for their son to be a sportsman as his father Pekka is a retired professional basketball player who played as a center for the University of Kansas before getting to play in the Finnish League in 1985. He played for many Finnish clubs during his active years, including Helsingin NMKY, and Kataja. Pekka was named Finnish Basketball Player of the Year thrice and he also won three Finnish League Championships before retiring in 2007.
Lauri Markkanen’s mother, on the other hand, played the sport for the Finland national basketball team. His brother Eero left the family business of basketball to play soccer. He plays as a forward for the Finland national football team and FC Haka, having previously been associated with PSM Makassar, Dalkurd FF, AIK, RoPs, and Real Madrid Castilla. Lauri’s other brother Mikka played basketball but injuries didn’t allow him to attain great heights in the field.
Markkanen Began Playing Basketball in His Home Country Before Moving to the United States
Lauri Markkanen is a graduate of Helsinki Academy, Finland. He began his basketball playing career with a local team called HoNsU before moving to the Finnish second-tier league where he played for HBA-Märsky between 2014 and 2016. Afterward, he immigrated to the United States for college and attended the University of Arizona.
Markkanen spent one year playing for Arizona before deciding to forgo his remaining years of collegiate eligibility and enter the 2017 NBA draft. During his time as a college basketball player, he garnered lots of attention as he was regarded as the best shooting 7-footer college basketball has ever seen. By the end of the year, he was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection and was also selected to the first-team all Pac-12 Freshman team. Lauri also made the watchlist of many prestigious awards, including the Karl Malone Award, Wooden Award, Naismith Award, Oscar Robertson Award, and Wayman Tisdale Award.
Lauri Markkanen was Named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team After An Impressive First Year As a Pro
As mentioned above, Lauri Markkanen was selected seventh overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the 2017 NBA draft. On the same day, he was traded to the Chicago Bulls where he penned down a contract on July 5th, 2017.
After about three months, Lauri posted 17 points as he made his NBA debut. He opted to take Jersey number 24 and sought the permission of former NBA player, Brian Scalabrine, who wore the number during his active career.
The Finnish player made an incredible start to life in the NBA as he has set new records for his team. On October 24th, 2017, after registering ten 3-pointers in his first three games as a pro, he became the NBA player to have scored the most 3-pointers in the first three games of their career. A few months later, on January 10th, 2018, he scored a career-high eight 3-pointers in a double-overtime victory over the New York Knicks. As a result, he became the second 7 foot NBA player after Dirk Nowitzki to register eight 3-pointers in one game.
Following his exploits in his rookie year, Lauri Markkanen was selected to the NBA All-Rookie First Team and he ended the season leading the Chicago Bulls in rebounds (7.5 per game). Having scored 100 career 3-pointers in 41 games, he set a new record as the fastest player in the NBA to attain such a feat.
In the 2018-19 season, Markkanen missed the first 23 games of the season due to health problems. He later made his first appearance of the season on January 28th, 2019 when he posted 19 rebounds in a loss to the Brooklyn Nets. The player moved on to record 35 points and 15 rebounds in a game against the Boston Celtics on February 23rd. He was, however, later ruled out for the season as a result of the same health issues that sidelined him earlier.
Beginning the 2019-2020 season, Lauri Markkanen ensured his name would be mentioned alongside Bulls great Michael Jordan when he posted 35 points, the most opening-day points by a Chicago Bull since MJ, in a one-point loss to the Charlotte Hornets.
Lauri is Married To His High School Sweetheart
While in middle school, Lauri Markkanen got acquainted with his soul mate Verna Aho, a native of Helsinki, Finland. The two began dating in their high school days and have remained together ever since. Though their wedding details are still not available, it is a known fact that the NBA player got married to his longtime beau in 2017.
The lovely couple expanded their family with the arrival of their son, Alvar in February 2018. Even though his career demands him to be on the road most often, Lauri ensures he spends quality time with his family whenever he is around. As such, he decided to be less active on social media platforms in order to focus more on his family and career.
Regarding Lauri Markkanen’s comely wife, she is a private person and thus, keeps away from the spotlight. There is trifle information about her in the media as she is reportedly a blogger and human rights activist.