The basketball world lost one of the greatest to ever hit the hardwood when it was announced that Elgin Baylor passed away early on Monday. Baylor is easily the greatest player to wear a Seattle U uniform while also being one of the best NBA players of all time. According to the Los Angles Lakers, who Baylor played 14 years for, he passed away due to natural causes.
Baylor transferred to Seattle U after one season at the College of Idaho. The 6-5 small forward was instantly one of the best players in the country as he averaged 29.7 ppg and 20 rpg in the 1956-57 season. The following season, he somehow improved those stats 32.5 ppg and 19 rpg while also leading the, then Chieftains, all the way to the NCAA Championship game vs Kentucky. Despite falling to the Wildcats 84-72, Baylor was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 22, 2021
As many expected, Elgin was selected with the first pick in the 1958 NBA draft by the Minneapolis Lakers, who convinced him to skip his senior season at SU and join them immediately. Despite being a bummer for the Chieftains, it was clearly the right choice for Baylor.
During his 14-year career with the Minneapolis and eventually Los Angeles Lakers, he averaged 27.4 points per game and 13.5 rebounds per. Was an 11-time NBA All-Star and won the All-Star game MVP in 1959 to go along with his Rookie of the Year award the same season. Just about the only thing he did not win in his career was a league MVP or an NBA title. His career 27.36 ppg mark is good enough for 3rd in league history, only behind Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlin.
After his retirement, Baylor spent several years as a coach with the New Orleans Jazz and as vice president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Baylor’s number 22 has been retired by both Seattle U and the Lakers and in 2009, the Redhawk’s court at KeyArena was renamed “Elgin Baylor Court.”
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Russell is the Content Director for the Eli Network. He studied broadcast journalism at Eastern Oregon and North Dakota State University. Mostly covers soccer and basketball in the Seattle area and is the current play-by-play voice for Seattle Redhawks basketball. You can follow him @brussbrwn.