LOS ANGELES. — Former Minneapolis and Los Angeles Lakers Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor, regarded as one of the game’s all-time great forwards, died of natural causes at the age of 86 on Monday (Tuesday in Manila), the NBA team said.
The Washington, D.C.-born Baylor was the No. 1 draft pick in 1958 and National Basketball Association Rookie of the Year in 1959. He spent 14 seasons with the Lakers and is considered one of the greatest players never to win a championship.
A gifted shooter and rebounder despite his 6-foot-5-inch frame, Baylor holds the record for most individual points in a single game in the NBA finals, scoring 61 against the Lakers’ archrivals, the Boston Celtics, in 1962.
“Elgin was the love of my life and my best friend. And like everyone else, I was in awe of his immense courage, dignity, and the time he gave to all fans,” his wife, Elaine, said in a statement.
Baylor’s No. 22 jersey was retired and hangs in the rafters of Los Angeles’ Staples Center, while the 11-time NBA All-Star was immortalized in a statue that stands outside the arena.