The Los Angeles Lakers announced on Monday that Elgin Baylor has passed away peacefully of natural causes at the age of 86.
"Elgin was THE superstar of his era - his many accolades speak to that," said Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss.
"He was one of the few Lakers players whose career spanned from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. But more importantly, he was a man of great integrity, even serving his country as a U.S. Army reservist, often playing for the Lakers only during his weekend pass. He is one of the all-time Lakers greats with his No. 22 jersey retired in the rafters and his statue standing guard in front of STAPLES Center. He will always be part of the Lakers legacy.
"On behalf of the entire Lakers family, I'd like to send my thoughts, prayers and condolences to Elaine and the Baylor family."
Elgin Baylor: Forever part of our Lakers Family. pic.twitter.com/zcRhVUSSmx- Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 22, 2021
The Minneapolis Lakers selected Baylor with the No. 1 pick in the 1958 NBA Draft.
He spent 14 seasons with the franchise, posting averages of 27.4 points, 13.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. In addition to being named Rookie of the Year in 1959, he earned 11 All-Star selections and 10 All-NBA selections in his career.
In 1977, Baylor was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
"Baylor was the first athlete to play above the rim, paving the way for future leapers like Connie Hawkins, Julius Erving, and Michael Jordan," his Hall of Fame bio reads. "On November 15, 1960, Baylor became the first player in NBA history to break the 70-point barrier when he torched the New York Knicks for 71 points."
The Lakers retired Baylor's No. 22 in 1983 and built a statue of him in front of the STAPLES Center in 2018.