BY: LEIGHTON SCHNEIDER, ABC NEWS
(LOS ANGELES) — Los Angeles Lakers legend Elgin Baylor has died, the team announced Monday.
He was 86.
“Elgin was the love of my life and my best friend,” said his wife Elaine, in a statement to the Lakers. “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 was drafted by the then Minneapolis Lakers first overall in 1958 and won the Rookie of the Year award after averaging 24.9 points, 15.0 rebounds, and 4.1 assists.
He would play for both the Minneapolis and Los Angeles Lakers for 14 seasons and was named an NBA All-star 11 times while also being named to the All-NBA first team 10 times. He averaged 27.4 points and 13.5 rebounds in his career.
Before going pro, he spent a year at the College Of Idaho before transferring to Seattle University, leading them to their first-ever National Championship game.
Seattle’s basketball team honored him in a tweet.
— Seattle University (@seattleu) March 22, 2021
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Baylor family at this time,” said Seattle Director of Athletics Shaney Fink in a statement. “One of the greatest basketball players of all time, Elgin led Seattle U to its first ever NCAA Championship game in 1958. Throughout and beyond his illustrious career as a player, coach and general manager in the NBA, Elgin kept close ties to the city of Seattle and his alma mater, Seattle U. Elgin possessed an exceptional personality and warmth, and an admirable generosity. We will be forever grateful for the impact he has had on Seattle U Athletics and our student-athletes.”
Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss honored Baylor in a statement.
“Elgin was THE superstar of his era – his many accolades speak to that,” said Buss. “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.”
In a statement, NBA Commissoner Adam Silver said Baylor was one of the first NBA superstars.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued the following statement today regarding the passing of Elgin Baylor: pic.twitter.com/bquAB76nTW
— NBA (@NBA) March 22, 2021
Baylor was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall Of Fame in 1977.
Following his playing career, he became a coach for the New Orleans Jazz and served as Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Clippers.
He is survived by his wife Elanie, their daughter and son, and two other children from a previous marriage.
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