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Former Lakers Great Elgin Baylor Dead At 86

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NBA legend Elgin Baylor, long considered one of the league’s pioneers in electrifying play, has died, the Los Angeles Lakers announced in a statement Monday.

Baylor, age 86, died of natural causes.

Baylor played 14 seasons with the Minneapolis/LA Lakers (1958-71), teaming with Jerry West and, for a while, Wilt Chamberlain. Overall, Baylor appeared in the Finals eight times. A 6-foot-5 guard/forward, Baylor was known as a gifted outside shooter, strong rebounder and deft passer.

He was also one of the first players to dazzle with his athleticism, punctuated by his trademark “hanging” jump shots.

Baylor was the first overall pick in the 1958 draft and was named NBA Rookie of the Year the following season. He made 11 All-Star teams and was first-team All-NBA on 10 occasions, averaging 27.4 points and 13.5 rebounds for his career.

Following retirement, Baylor coached the New Orleans (now Utah) Jazz from 1976-79, but he was mostly known for his time as the LA Clippers general manager.

He spent 22 years as Clippers GM, retiring from the post in 2008 at the age of 74. He was named Executive of the Year in 2006.

A statue of Baylor resides in front of the Staples Center, where the Lakers and Clippers play home games.

Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico spent 15 years covering the NBA for Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and NBA.com, along with a few other spots, and currently runs his own basketball website on the side, FortyEightMinutes.com.

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  1. This dude was a total stud on and off the court. Somehow historically underrated as both a player and a civil rights activists. He also literally served in the military (Army Reserves) *WHILE PLAYING AN NBA SEASON* at the same time and flying coach flights from his base and only playing 48 weekend games while nearly winning the MVP. Hopefully plenty of youngsters out there do some digging on him today and find a new appreciation. RIP Mr. Baylor.

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