Legend Elgin Baylor Dies: Former Lakers star Elgin Baylor has died of natural causes. He was 86. Baylor played his entire 14-year career with the Lakers spanning from the 1958-1959 season until the 1971-1972 season. Baylor’s wife Elaine was by his side until the end.
“Elgin was the love of my life and my best friend,” Elaine Baylor said. “And like everyone else, I was in awe of his immense courage, dignity, and the time he gave to all fans.
At this time we ask that I and our family be allowed to mourn his passing in privacy.”
Baylor’s NBA Career
When looking back at players who transcended the NBA a while back Baylor’s name has to come to mind. Not only is Baylor a member of the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame he was awarded the Rookie of the Year award in the 1958-1959 season where he also took home the All-Star MVP award.
Baylor was an 11-time All-Star and 10 time All-NBA. During his career, Baylor averaged 27.4 points per game and 13.5 rebounds per game. During the 1961-1962 NBA season Baylor averaged 38.3 points per game.
Since the 1960’s the NBA has transformed in many ways with people playing each position at different heights and the athleticism of players continues to amaze. No matter what we cannot discredit what Baylor was able to accomplish during his era as he performed at a high level.
Former Teammate Jerry West on Baylor
Guard Jerry West joined Baylor on the Lakers following his second season in the NBA during the 1960-1961 season. West and Baylor were one of the most dominant duos in their era.
“I will forever cherish my days spent with him as a teammate, he was one of the most gifted and special players that this game will ever see and he has never gotten his just due for what he accomplished on the court,” West said. “My first few years in the league he cared for me like a father would a son, he nurtured me and encouraged me like no one else had during that period of my life.
We shared the joy of winning and the heartbreaking losses during the championship finals. He was a prince both on and off of the court. There are no words to describe how I feel at this time.
My deepest condolences to his dear wife Elaine and his loving family, and his many fans and friends. I loved him like a brother.”
West and Baylor had an incredible relationship as they were teammates for almost the entire duration of their careers. Following their careers playing for the Lakers both men went on to work in the front office for the Los Angeles Clippers. Baylor was a longtime General Manager for the Clippers and West is currently a consultant for the Clippers.
Jeane Buss on Baylor
“He was one of the few Lakers players whose career spanned from Minneapolis to Los Angeles, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss said.” Baylor began his career in Minneapolis, but after two years the team moved to L.A. “But more importantly he was a man of great integrity, even serving his country as a U.S. Army reservist, often playing for the Lakers only during his weekend pass.
He is one of the all-time Lakers greats with his No. 22 jersey retired in the rafters and his statue standing guard in front of Staples Center.
He will always be part of the Lakers legacy. On behalf of the entire Lakers family, I’d like to send my thoughts, prayers, and condolences to Elaine and the Baylor family.”
Baylor goes down as one of the best players in franchise history on a team with an abundance of legends and a rich history of winning.