Lakers legend and NBA hall of famer Elgin Baylor was honored at the 16th annual Harold and Carole Pump Foundation gala over the weekend, surrounded by a multitude of NBA icons. The 11-time NBA All-Star who spent 13 seasons playing small forward for the Minneapolis and Los Angeles Lakers was introduced by his former teammate, Jerry West.
“I have a chance here tonight to talk about one of the greatest players ever who never gets his just due by the way, which infuriates me,” West said to the hundreds of guests in attendance. “To have a chance here tonight to introduce you and present you with this honor is really thrilling.
“Elgin, it’s often awkward to tell a man you love him but I’ve always loved you as a person. I loved the way you treated me and I liked how you treated me as your equal after awhile.”
Unfortunately, West and Baylor missed out on the opportunity to win an NBA championship together. After ailing knee problems, Baylor retired nine games into the 1971-72 season, and that was the same year the Lakers won their first title in Los Angeles. Additionally, the Lakers next game after Baylor’s retirement happened to be the first victory of the historic 33-game winning streak.
Still, Baylor will go down in the history books, as one of the best to every play the game.
“He definitely belongs in the conversation of the all-time greats,” Jamaal Wilkes told LakersNation.com before taking the stage at the gala.
The event benefitted the Harold Pump Department of Radiation Oncology, the Carole Pump Women’s Center and the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Cancer Center at Dignity Health – Northridge Hospital Medical Center.