Los Angeles Lakers legend Elgin Baylor passed away on Monday at the age of 86. He was surrounded by his wife, Elaine, and his daughter, Krystal.
The team announced that the Hall of Famer died of natural causes.
Baylor, the No. 1 pick in the 1958 NBA Draft, played 14 seasons in the NBA for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers and he was a part of eight NBA Finals, but never won a championship.
Elgin Baylor #22 of Los Angeles Lakers looks to pass against the Milwaukee Bucks during a game circa 1970 at the MECCA Arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Vernon Biever/NBAE via Getty Images)
“Elgin was the love of my life and my best friend,” Elaine Baylor said in a 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.”
Honored as the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1959, Baylor averaged 24.9 points, 15.0 rebounds, and 4.1 assists. He finished with career averages of 27.4 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game for the Lakers. He was an 11-time NBA All-Star, 10-time All-NBA first-team selection, and is regarded as one of the greatest players of all-time.
After his playing career was over, Baylor served as a coach for the New Orleans Jazz and vice president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Clippers.
“Elgin was THE superstar of his era — his many accolades speak to that,” Lakers governor Jeanie Buss said. “He was one of the few Lakers players whose career spanned from Minneapolis to Los Angeles.”
Elgin Baylor looks on during the statue unveiling at STAPLES Center on April 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
“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,” Buss continued.
“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 was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1977. His No. 22 jersey was retired by the team on Nov. 3, 1983, and his statue at STAPLES Center was unveiled on April 6, 2018.