The Los Angeles Lakers announced on Monday that franchise icon Elgin Baylor has passed away at the age of 86 from natural causes. A 14-year professional, Baylor spent his entire playing career with the Lakers franchise, including their final two years in Minneapolis.
During his long distinguished career, Baylor earned many accolades including Rookie of the Year and 11 All-Star campaigns throughout the 1950’s and 60’s. Baylor routinely broke barriers as a Black player, coach, and executive in the NBA.
The Lakers and team owner Jeanie Buss issues the following statement on the passing of the legend whose number 22 jersey is retired and hung in the Staples Center rafters:
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 22, 2021
The Lakers honored Baylor this season with two classic blue and white jerseys from his era leading the Minneapolis and Los Angeles Lakers.
Baylor is sometimes credited with saving the Lakers franchise from folding when he was drafted years after George Mikan was no longer leading them on the court. During his rookie year, Baylor — drafted first overall — led the team to the NBA Finals where they lost to the Boston Celtics, sparking a decades long rivalry between the two teams.
Baylor later served as the head coach of the New Orleans Jazz and vice president of basketball operations for the LA Clippers.
We wish Mr. Baylor’s friends and family the best during this time. Rest in peace, legend.