The Los Angeles Lakers announced that Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor passed away peacefully of natural causes in Los Angeles on Monday at the age of 86. Baylor was surrounded by his wife, Elaine, and his daughter, Krystal at the time of his death.
Baylor was originally drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers with the first overall pick in 1958 after he led Seattle University to their first NCAA championship game.
In 14 NBA seasons, all of which came with the Lakers, Baylor was named to 11 All-Star teams and 10 All-NBA teams, establishing himself as one of the best players in franchise and NBA history.
“Elgin was the love of my life and my best friend,” said Elaine after his passing. “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 released a statement on behalf of the organization.
“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.”
Baylor was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1977, and his No. 22 jersey was retired by the Lakers in 1983. There also is a statue honoring him outside of STAPLES Center, which was unveiled in 2018.
Funeral arrangements are pending, and it can be assumed the Lakers will do something to honor him this season as well.
During the Lakers’ championship run last season, they honored the late great Kobe Bryant by often wearing their black “Mamba” jerseys. Baylor designed a set of uniforms for the Lakers this season, so there is no doubt they will continue wearing those to honor Baylor after his passing.
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