Lakers legend Elgin Baylor has died of natural causes aged 86, the team announced on Monday. He was surrounded by his wife, Elaine, and his daughter, Krystal, according to the Lakers.
“Elgin was the love of my life and my best friend,” Elaine said. as part of the team statement. “And like everyone else, I was in awe of his immense courage, his dignity and the time he gave to all the fans. At this point we ask that our family and I be allowed to cry. his death in complete privacy. “
The Hall of Famer have averaged 27.4 points, 13.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 846 career games for the Minneapolis and Los Angeles Lakers – the team moved in 1960 – winning 11 All- caps. Star and 10 All-NBA in 14 seasons. He is one of four players in NBA history with career averages of at least 25 points and 10 rebounds per game.
Unfortunately for Baylor, he left the NBA without winning a championship after reaching the NBA Finals eight times. Baylor retired after playing just nine games in the 1971-72 campaign, citing knee problems and a inability to perform consistently at a high level, and the Lakers won the title later that season.
But Baylor didn’t need a ring to leave a lasting impact on the game. He is considered one of the greatest players and most prolific scorers in basketball history and was well ahead of his time. time. His combination of skill and athleticism was unmatched among players of his time.
As Hall of Fame Keeper Richie Guerin once described, “Elgin has three hands or two balls. It’s like keeping a flood.”
“Elgin was THE superstar of his day – his many accolades are proof of that,” said Lakers owner Jeanie Buss. “He was one of the few Lakers players whose career stretched from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. But more importantly, he was a man of great integrity, even serving his country as an Army Reservist. American, often playing for the Lakers only on his weekends, he’s one of the all-time greats of the Lakers with his No.22 jersey pulled back in the rafters and his statue standing guard outside the Staples Center.
“He will always be a part of the Lakers’ legacy. On behalf of the entire Lakers family, I would like to send my thoughts, prayers and condolences to Elaine and the Baylor family.”
After his playing career, Baylor briefly coached the New Orleans Jazz before becoming general manager of the Clippers for more than two decades. He was named NBA Director of the Year in 2005-06, but left the franchise on bad terms after claiming he was kicked out because of age and racial discrimination. (Baylor said he worked under disgraced ex-owner Donald Sterling for so long due to the limited opportunities for former black players and the need to support his family.) He filed a lawsuit in 2009, but the lawsuit was dismissed in 2011.
The Clippers acknowledged Baylor’s passing on Monday and shared a statement from team consultant Jerry West, who played alongside Baylor with the Lakers from 1960 to 1971.
“I was made aware of Elgin’s passing this morning and I am sad beyond belief that he is gone,” West said. “I will forever cherish my days spent with him as a teammate. He was one of the most gifted and special players this game will ever see and he never got his due for what he has accomplished on the pitch …. He was. a prince both on and off the court. There are no words to describe how I’m feeling right now. My deepest condolences to his dear wife, Elaine, her loving family and her many fans and friends. I loved her like a brother. “
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also released a statement praising Baylor for his work on and off the pitch.
“Elgin Baylor paved the way for the modern NBA as one of the league’s first superstar players,” said Silver. “11 times All-Star in his Hall of Fame career with the Lakers, Elgin produced remarkable results with his athleticism and groundbreaking style of play, including setting an NBA Finals record with 61 points. in Game 5 of the 1962 Championship Series – a performance made all the more extraordinary by the fact that he had spent part of that season away from his team while on active duty in the military.
“In addition to his legendary playing career, Elgin was a man of principle. He was a leading activist at the height of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s and an influential voice among his fellow gamers. After his retirement, Elgin remained a part of the NBA family as a coach and executive, passing his wisdom on to generations of NBA talent. Elgin will be dearly missed, and our thoughts and prayers go to his wife, Elaine, his family and friends. “
Current and former players reacted to Baylor’s death on Monday, including another Lakers legend in Magic Johnson, who called Baylor “a true class act and a great man.”
RIP to the NBA’s first major flyer, Lakers Legend, and Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor. Before Michael Jordan did amazing things in the air, there was Elgin Baylor! A true class act and a great man, I will always appreciate the advice he shared with me when I arrived in the pic.twitter.com/khPRc73gqW
– Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) March 22, 2021
My deepest condolences to his family and friends. Rest in peace, legend 🙏
– Pau Gasol (@paugasol) March 22, 2021
Our game has lost a pillar today. Rest in power for the great Elgin Baylor 🙏🏾
– Chris Paul (@ CP3) March 22, 2021
RIP to one of the best players to ever touch a basketball, Elgin Baylor 🙏🏽🕊
– Karl-Anthony Towns (@KarlTowns) March 22, 2021
RIP to a pioneer and game legend Elgin Baylor 🙏🏾❤️
– andrew wiggins (@ 22wiggins) March 22, 2021
Rip to legend Elgin Baylor! 🙏🏾🙏🏾
– Keef Morris (@Keefmorris) March 22, 2021