NBA legend Elgin Baylor — one of the greatest basketball players of all time — has passed away of natural causes, the Los Angeles Lakers announced Monday. He was 86.
Baylor was selected with the first overall pick to the Minneapolis Lakers in 1958 … and spent his entire 14-year career with the franchise.
The 6’5″ forward won Rookie of the Year in 1959 … and was named All-Star Game MVP that same year.
Baylor was an 11-time All Star and 10-time First Team All-NBA selection for the Lakers. He was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1977 … and his #22 jersey was retired in 1983.
Baylor was also honored with a statue outside Staples Center in 2018.
Baylor ranks as one of the greatest to ever don the Purple & Gold — he’s ranked 4th in points scored, 1st in total rebounds and 6th in assists.
Baylor went on to coach the New Orleans Jazz from 1974-1979 after his playing days … and later spent 22 years as GM of the Los Angeles Clippers, earning Executive of the Year honors in 2006.
Elgin’s wife, Elaine, released a statement on his passing … saying, “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.”
Lakers governor Jeanie Buss added … “Elgin was THE superstar of his era – his many accolades speak to that.”
“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 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 is survived by his wife, children and sister.