The Lakers – the team he played for across 14 seasons in both Minneapolis and
‘Elgin as the love of my life and my best friend,’ his wife Elaine said in a statement. ‘And like everyone else, I was in awe of his immense courage, dignity ad 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.
Baylor passed away with Elaine and his daughter Krystal by his side.
NBA legend Elgin Baylor has passed away at age 86. The Lakers – the team he played for across 14 seasons in both Minneapolis and Los Angeles – confirmed the news on Monday. A cause of death has not been revealed. Baylor was the first NBA player to surpass 70 points with a 71-point game December 11, 1960, against New York (pictured after the game)
Elgin Baylor pictured alongside his wife Elaine at the 2019 NBA Awards in Santa Monica
With a silky-smooth jumper and fluid athleticism, Baylor played a major role in revolutionizing basketball from a ground-bound sport into an aerial show.
‘Elgin was THE superstar of his era – his many accolades speak to that,’ said Lakers owner Jeanie Buss said in a statement. ‘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 had the unfortunate challenge of playing during the Boston Celtics dynasty, when the east coast club won NBA titles in 11 of 13 seasons.
His title window seemingly opened when Celtics legend Bill Russell retired in 1969, but by that point Baylor was battling knee issues. He ultimately retired early in the 1971-1972 season because he couldn’t play up to his own expectations. The Lakers would go on to win their first title since the George Mikan era of the 1950s.
His second career as a personnel executive with the Los Angeles Clippers was much less successful.
He worked for the Clippers from 1986 until 2008, when he left the team with acrimony and an unsuccessful lawsuit against owner Donald Sterling and the NBA claiming age and race discrimination.
Baylor was the first NBA player to surpass 70 points with a 71-point game December 11, 1960, against New York. He had 88 40-point games in his career.
Baylor played for the Minneapolis Lakers for two years before the club moved to Los Angeles
The Los Angeles Lakers announced Baylor’s passing in a statement on Monday