BEVERLY HILLS, March 22, (THEWILL) – The National Basketball Association side Los Angeles Lakers have announced that former player and Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor passed away peacefully of natural causes on Monday in Los Angeles, surrounded by his wife, Elaine, and Krystal, his daughter.
The icon is survived by his wife Elaine, Krystal, a son and another daughter Alan and Alison from a previous marriage, and a sister, Gladys Baylor Barrett. He was 86.
Elaine’s remarks after his passing were few: “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. At this time we ask that I and our family be allowed to mourn his passing in privacy.”
The Lakers’ icon was born on September 16, 1934, in Washington, D.C., and played one season at the College of Idaho before transferring to Seattle University, where he led the team to their first NCAA championship game. He was thereafter drafted first overall by the Minneapolis Lakers in 1958.
Averaging 24.9 points, 15.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists as a rookie, Baylor’s performance earned him Rookie of the Year honors. He played 14 seasons for the Minneapolis and Los Angeles Lakers and earned NBA All-Star honors 11 times with 10 First Team All-NBA appearances to his name.
At the end of an impressive professional career, Baylor retired from basketball in 1971 and went on to serve as a coach for the New Orleans Jazz. He was also Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Clippers.
While commiserating with the family, Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss said: “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 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, while his No. 22 jersey was retired by the Lakers on November 3, 1983. As Buss noted, a statue honoring Baylor was unveiled on April 6, 2018, at STAPLES Center, South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles.