The Los Angeles Lakers officially announced they will honor legendary Elgin Baylor with a statue in front of Staples Center. Baylor, who played 14 years with the Lakers (two in Minneapolis and 12 in L.A.), will have his statue unveiled on April 6 before the team’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“I am thrilled that 60 years after the Minneapolis Lakers drafted Elgin, we are able to celebrate and honor him with a statue,” Lakers CEO and controlling owner Jeanie Buss said in a released statement.
“Not only is Elgin a part of the Lakers family, his contributions to the game of basketball earned him a place in the Hall of Fame. His list of accomplishments are unparalleled and I can’t wait to see his statue at Star Plaza alongside the other Lakers legends.”
During his playing days, Baylor burst out of the gate to earn Rookie of the Year before going on to finish his career with averages of 27.4 points, 13.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists while being chosen as an NBA All-Star 11 times and making 10 First Team All-NBA appearances.
Baylor, who was ranked No. 8 among the greatest Lakers of All-Time in Lakers Nation’s countdown, retired with 846 total games under his belt.
He walked away just nine games into the 1971-72 season and was honored with Hall of Fame induction in 1977 before seeing his No. 22 jersey retired by the Lakers in 1983.
Baylor was a trendsetter in the NBA, the first of a wave of hyperathletic, smooth-scoring wings that would soon start to pop up across the league, playing an above-the-rim style that would go on to inspire players like Michael Jordan in their own playing careers.
Baylor will be the 10th statue to be erected outside Staples Center, and the fifth member of the Lakers to receive the honor. He joins Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Iconic Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn also has a statue outside Staples Center.
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