Hall of Fame NBA player Elgin Baylor has died at the age of 86. ESPN reports the Lakers legend died of natural causes on Monday and was surrounded by his wife, Elaine, and daughter, Krystal.
“Elgin was the love of my life and my best friend,” Elaine said in the statement. “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.”
Baylor was an 11-time All-Star and 10-time All-NBA selection during his 14 seasons with the Lakers from 1958 to 1971. He would also win the Rookie of the Year award in 1958-59 and the All-star Game MVP the same year. He averaged a double-double for his career, posting 27.4 points and 13.5 rebounds a game.
“Elgin was THE superstar of his era — his many accolades speak to that,” 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.”
“Elgin Baylor set the course for the modern NBA as one of the league’s first superstar players,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.
After his playing career, Baylor coached the New Orleans Jazz of 1976-79 and joined the front office of the Los Angeles Clippers, operating as the general manager from 1986 to 2009.