The basketball world has lost yet another one of its trailblazing stars in Elgin Baylor, a scoring and rebounding machine despite having the build of today’s wing players. Baylor played for the Minneapolis and Los Angeles Lakers for 14 seasons before becoming a coach and an executive.
Elgin Baylor was born September 16, 1934, in Washington, D.C., becoming a star player in the city in his senior year at Spingarn High School. Nicknamed Rabbit, Baylor was surrounded by basketball by way of two older brothers, and that tutelage would go on to serve him well during his collegiate career at the College of Idaho and Seattle University ahead of his professional career.
Baylor was selected No. 1 overall by the Minneapolis Lakers in the 1958 NBA Draft and was credited by Minneapolis owner Bob Short for saving the floundering franchise ahead of the team moving to Los Angeles. A mixture of power and grace, Baylor was a high-scoring guard with moves for days on the court and even was performing Eurostep maneuvers before they became popular in today’s high-flying game.
Across his 14 seasons, Baylor made the NBA All-Star team 11 times, and the All-NBA First Team selection 10 times. He was also the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1959. Baylor was also named to the NBA’s 35th and 50th-anniversary teams due to his weighty achievements.
After his playing days were behind him, Baylor was named an assistant coach for the Utah Jazz and later head coach, retiring from the bench in 1979. In 1986, Baylor was hired as the Los Angeles Clippers’s Vice President of Basketball Operations. Baylor was named the NBA Executive of the Year in 2006, the same year he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Fans of the NBA on Twitter are sharing their condolences and memories of the late, great Elgin Baylor. We’ve got those reactions below.