Lakers Legend Elgin Baylor Dies at Age of 86

Getty Former Los Angeles Lakers legend Elgin Baylor.

When talking about the history of the Los Angeles Lakers, many focus on the “Showtime” era or the recent dominance of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. What often gets forgotten are some of the greats from before the team started winning championship after championship. Elgin Baylor may have never won a title with the team but he was an 11-time NBA All-Star and Hall of Famer.

Unfortunately, the Lakers announced on Monday that Baylor has passed away from natural causes at the age of 86.

Baylor donned number 22 on his jersey when he played and it’s one of the 11 jersey numbers that the Lakers have retired. He spent all 14 years of his playing career with the team before retiring in 1972. The following season after his retirement, the Lakers won a championship. Though he wasn’t technically part of that team, he received a ring thanks to his impact in prior seasons.

Baylor scored 23,149 points throughout his career, which is 36th in NBA history. He scored more points than legendary players like Isaiah Thomas and Larry Bird. He was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1977. He is survived by his wife Elaine and daughter Krystal.

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Sports World Reacts to Baylor’s Death

Though Baylor will always go down as one of the great underrated players, there’s no doubt he had a huge impact on the sports world. The news of his passing reached current Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma.

Many others around the sports world paid their respects to Baylor.

Few players in any sport have the resume that Baylor has. In fact, he’s only one of 10 players in NBA history to make an All-NBA first team 10 times. Fellow Lakers LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry West have also done it.

It’s a sad day for the Lakers and their fan base, but the team is among the best at honoring their legends. There’s no doubt that Baylor felt appreciated in life by his former team.

Not only was Baylor an excellent player, but he was also a capable executive. He served as the Clippers’ vice president of basketball operations for 22 years. In 2006, he was named the NBA Executive of the Year for helping the Clippers win their first playoff series since 1976.

Baylor’s Wife Addresses His Passing

Upon the news of Baylor’s death, his wife Elaine issued a statement.

“Elgin was the love of my life and my best friend. 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.”

Lakers governor Jeanie Buss also made it clear in a statement how important Baylor was to the team.

“Elgin was THE superstar of his era – his many accolades speak to that,” Buss said. “He was one of the few Lakers players whose career spanned from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. 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.”

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