Legendary Los Angeles Lakers forward Elgin Baylor has passed away at the age of 86 of natural causes.
NBA and Lakers legend Elgin Baylor has passed away from natural causes at age of 86, team says.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 22, 2021
Baylor started his NBA career in 1958 as a member of the Minneapolis Lakers, who moved to Los Angeles in 1960.
Averaging 38.3 points per game in the 1961-62 season, Baylor led the NBA in scoring. He also led the NBA in assists in two consecutive seasons (1968-69 and 1969-70), averaging 5.4 assists per contest.
Baylor earned All-NBA First Team honors 10 times and he was named an NBA All-Star 11 times.
On November 15, 1960, Baylor had an unforgettable performance, scoring 71 points and pulling down 25 rebounds against the New York Knicks.
Baylor was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1977.
Along with Jerry West, Baylor helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to eight NBA title series appearances. He is perhaps the best player in NBA history to never win an NBA championship.
Baylor had deep ties to New Orleans with the NBA as well.
Scotty Robertson hired Baylor as an assistant coach in 1974 with the expansion New Orleans Jazz.
Robertson was fired after 14 games and Baylor was named Interim coach for one game prior to Butch Van Breda Kolff taking over as head coach for the remainder of the inaugural season with Baylor returning to assistant coaching duties.
Van Breda Kolff was dismissed 26 games into the 1976-77 season and Baylor took over as head coach of the Jazz and remained in that capacity for the final 2-plus years that the Jazz were in New Orleans.
In the 1977-78 season, the Jazz were poised to post their first winning season and most likely their first playoff appearance when Pete Maravich, who led the league in scoring the previous season and was at the peak of his vast talent, went down with a knee injury.
Maravich injured the knee in a 114-95 win over Buffalo at the Superdome, which was the ninth straight win for New Orleans. The Jazz were 25-24, at that point but with Maravich hobbled, the team hobbled home to a 39-43 record and missed the playoffs.
The Jazz were better and entertaining, with All-Star Truck Robinson as a second star and recipient of many assists from Maravich.
Baylor retired following the 1978-79 season. The Jazz relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah following that season.
Baylor compiled a record of 86-135 as head coach of the Jazz.