The Los Angeles Lakers announced the death of NBA Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor, 86, Monday.
The team said Baylor died “peacefully” from natural causes, surrounded by his wife and daughter.
“Elgin was the love of my life and best friend,” his wife 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.”
Baylor was selected as the Minneapolis Lakers first overall in the 1958 NBA draft before the team’s move to Los Angeles in 1960. He spent his entire 14-year career with the franchise before retiring in 1972.
Elgin Baylor: Forever part of our Lakers Family. pic.twitter.com/zcRhVUSSmx
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 22, 2021
After retiring as a player, Baylor joined the Los Angeles Clippers front office, where he spent 22 years as vice president of basketball operations
“I was made of aware of Elgin’s passing this morning and I’m saddened beyond belief that he is gone,” former Laker teammate and current Clippers executive, Jerry West, said in a statement. “I will forever cherish my days spent with him as a teammate. He was one of the most gifted and special players this game will ever see and has never gotten his just due for what he accomplished on the court. My first few years in the league, he cared for me like a father would a son… He was a prince both on and off the court.”
The Lakers legend was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 1977 and had his jersey No. 22 retired by the team in 1983. In 2018, he had a statue unveiled outside of Staples Center in his honor.
Baylor is survived by his wife Elaine, son Alan and daughter Alison.