Elgin Baylor, who died Monday, never really got his due.
A native of Washington, DC, Baylor first attended the College of Idaho then transferred to Seattle and led his team to the 1958 Final Four.
He was drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers and moved with them to Los Angeles where he had a long and fruitful relationship with guard Jerry West.
Unfortunately, the Lakers of his era played against Bill Russell’s Celtics, and Russell just didn’t lose.
Later, when the Lakers traded for Wilt Chamberlain, Baylor became less critical and after he retired in 1971, the Lakers went on a 33-game win streak and won the title he had never been able to win.
As a GM for the LA Clippers, he was overshadowed by the Lakers and his old teammate Jerry West, who put together Showtime with Magic Johnson in the driver’s seat. Baylor had to deal with Donald Stirling, who, before he was reviled as a racist, was widely derided as a bizarrely cheapskate owner.
But Baylor was special. He could do things that were decades ahead of his time. Of his contemporaries, only Connie Hawkins had similar gifts.
Baylor died Monday. Take a look at this video and you’ll see a guy who could do things that people in the 1950s and ‘60s could barely believe. He was legitimately great.
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