The Lakers franchise embedded their roots into the city of Los Angeles the day they left Minnesota, creating a fantastic opportunity that would evolve into countless NBA championships. However, the organization first gained recognition during their days as the Minneapolis Lakers.
Players such as George Mikan, Elgin Baylor, and Larry Foust reached stardom with their notable contributions towards the Lakers. Many recognizable names donned the light blue jerseys that the 2017-18 Lakers designated as one of their alternates.
On this day in Lakers history, Baylor was able to represent the Lakers in a historic first for the NBA. The 1959 All-Star Game took place at the Olympia Stadium, in Detroit, Michigan.
With a crowd of just under 11,000, the players were able to put on a spectacular performance. The Lakers were represented on the Western Conference All-Stars, with Baylor, Foust and Dick Garmaker all being selected.
Baylor, who was placed in the starting lineup, had just begun his NBA career. The rookie was selected to the All-Star team after taking the league by storm, with his performance on Jan. 23, 1959, showcasing his talent on a national stage.
Both teams went back and forth in the first half, with the East emerging with a 31-27 lead after the first quarter. However, the West rebounded with a 13-point advantage in the second quarter, taking a 61-52 lead into halftime.
The East also had their fair share of future Hall-of-Fame players, with Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, and Bill Sharman all representing the Boston Celtics. Basketball had an altered approach to the game involving much different basics and outlooks, at a time roughly 20 seasons before the 3-point line was introduced.
The competitiveness did take somewhat of a nosedive, as the West never relinquished their lead. The talent of the West helped power the team to a win, emerging with a 124-108 victory when it was all said and done.
Baylor led the way alongside teammate Bob Pettit, as they combined for 49 points. Baylor contributed 24 (10-for-20 shooting) of those 49, along with 11 rebounds and one assist. The significance of this night came once the game had finished.
The postgame award celebration officially notarized the first pair of teammates to share All-Star Game MVP honors. Both Baylor and Pettit stepped up, claiming a share of the history.
The 1958-59 campaign was an exhilarating introduction for Baylor, as he also went on to earn the Rookie of the Year Award. That would just mark the beginning of Baylor’s Hall-of-Fame career, as he went on to become an 11-time All-Star and earned 10 All-NBA nominations.
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