The Los Angeles Lakers announced Monday afternoon that team legend Elgin Baylor has died.
From Seattle University, Baylor was the first choice in 1958. Elgin Baylor immediately began a Hall of Fame career. And nearly 20 years after his NBA debut, he went to Springfield Halls in 1977, where he earned his master’s degree. The Hall of Famer has spent his entire career with the Lakers and was with the franchise when it moved from Minneapolis to Tinseltown.
Baylor was more than a basketball player. He was a veteran and the voice of black athletes at a time when voices were constantly silenced. The 11-time All-Conference and 10-time NBA All-Star is the fourth top scorer in NBA history. The basketball community is mourning the loss of one of the most important basketball players of all time. To honor his life and legacy, we present some of the finest moments from his legendary and brilliant professional career.
3. 71-point performance against the Knicks in 1960.
Baylor was largely instrumental in making the NBA a vertical game, revolutionizing the way the game is played with his high-flying acrobatics and his famous jump shot. In the 1960s, there were maybe two other players as talented as Baylor. And while Baylor only led the Lakers to the NBA Finals in his first season, he accomplished that feat in his second.
The 6-foot-8 forward showed he has something up his sleeve. The 15th. In November 1960, Baylor dismantled the country’s most storied team, the New York Knicks, by scoring 71 points, which was an NBA record at the time. It’s important for our young audience to remember that Baylor caused a furor with the Knicks even without a three-point line. Oh, and he added 25 plates.
I could never ask him that question. I often wonder how he felt when he saw that we won the championship and he only played nine games [in 1971-72].
Jerry West on @BA_Turner about his running mate and old friend Elgin Baylor @latimessports https://t.co/TGHciU9vi1
– Chris Stein (@LAT_ChrisStein) 22. March 2021
While the best is yet to come for Baylor, this rise in his second year in the league is no anomaly. Baylor added five more 50+ point performances and reached the 40-point mark 16 more times. The second time he hit the NBA floor, he was the most dominant side scoring player in the league.
2. Set the final NBA record of 61 points in a game
Elgin Baylor never managed to win an NBA championship, despite making the Finals eight times. And he resigned just before the 71-72 season, in which the Lakers used a 33-game winning streak to win their first championship since 1954 and their first in Los Angeles. The knowledge that he would be more of a burden than an asset to his team deserves praise, but Baylor is still a Finals legend.
In the 1962 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics, Elgin Baylor went on a 2-2 run to open the game. Elgin scored 61 points in the Lakers’ 126-121 victory, which is an NBA record to this day. Only Michael Jordan has scored more points in the playoffs, 63, and that required a double overtime.
Elgin Baylor added 22 boards to his turnovers and went 17-of-19 from the free throw line. Even if the Celtics continue to win the series, their dynamic Game 5 remains one of the greatest playoff games in NBA history.
1. He had a 38-19 average during the 1961-62 season while on active duty with the Army Reserves.
One of the most famous stories of the barber legend: Elgin Baylor made himself known by splitting his time between the National Army Reserves and the Lakers during the 61-62 season (as in the aforementioned 61-point final). That means he couldn’t train with the team during the season, had to miss games and still found the strength to make grown men look like fools left and right.
He will average 38.3 PPG and 18.6 RBG en route to one of his eight All-NBA seasons. Elgin Baylor was the most dominant winger in the league, without a doubt. Dr. J to Dr. J MJ to MJ. This man was an absolute menace if he wanted to be, and a soldier if he had to be. Here are some of his craziest stats from this season:
- against Philadelphia on the 8th. December 1961: 63 points, 31 rebounds, 7 assists.
- against St. Petersburg St. Louis, five days later: 52 points, 25 rebounds, 10 assists.
- against Cincinnati, 25. January 1962: 39 points and 27 rebounds
Like I said, guys who serve their country are openly embarrassed. And he didn’t do it in an era where NBA players were part-time plumbers. Elgin Baylor burned people like Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Bob Pettit.
There is a saying in NBA circles that still seems to be true: Before MJ, there was Elgin Baylor. He was a pioneer in the development of basketball.
frequently asked questions
What is Elgin Baylor known for?
Considered one of the best basketball players of all time, Baylor was an 11-time All-Star and 10-time All-NBA during his 14 seasons with the Lakers. He was named Rookie of the Year and All-Star Game MVP in the 1958-59 season and averaged 27.4 points and 13.5 rebounds during his illustrious career.
Which college did Elgin Baylor attend?
College of Idaho
Who is Elgin Baylor’s wife?
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