LOS ANGELES (WISH) — Basketball Hall of Famer and longtime Los Angeles Laker Elgin Baylor has died at the age of 86.
Baylor passed away of natural causes in Los Angeles surrounded by his wife, Elaine, and daughter, Krystal, according to a statement released by the team.
“Elgin the THE superstar of her era – his many accolades speak to that,” Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss said in the 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 led Seattle University to its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament championship game before being drafted No. 1 overall by the Minneapolis Lakers in 1958. He averaged 24.9 points, 15.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists in his first season and was named Rookie of the Year.
An 11-time All-Star and 10-time First Team All-NBA selection, the Washington D.C. native averaged 27.4 points and 13.5 rebounds in his 14-year career, all of which was spent with the Lakers franchise. Baylor was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1977 and had his No. 22 jersey retired in 1983.
“Elgin was the love of my life and my best friend,” Elaine Baylor said. “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.
He is survived by his wife, son, two daughters and sister.