Looking Back at the Life of Elgin Baylor

It's been a tough couple of years for the Lakers with the tragic loss of team hero Kobe Bryant and more recently the loss of an all-time Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor. Baylor passed on the 22nd of March this year at the age of 86, leaving behind his wife Elaine, as well as children Krystle, Alison, and Alan. Whilst the family and the team are still reeling from the loss, three months on from Baylor's passing, it is time to look back at the long and full life of this incredibly accomplished sportsman.

Born in Washington D.C. to parents Uzziel and John, Elgin was fondly known as Rabbit during his younger years. He picked up a basketball at 14-years-old and his obsession with the sport grew from there. Owing to the division of races at the time in America, despite living right around the corner from a recreation ground, Elgin was not able to use the facilities because of his color. As a result, he had very limited access to areas where he could properly play, but his brothers Sal and Kermit went out of their way to get the family to basketball courts wherever possible. Their tenacity worked and after playing for the Southwest Boys Club and Brown Junior High, Baylor made his debut as an All-City player.

His high school basketball career went fairly successfully until he dropped out in order to play in local recreational leagues and earn some money. Thankfully after a couple of years, Baylor re-joined for the 1954 season and was selected for Spingarn High School. He performed well here and was named first-team Washington All-Metropolitan. This made him the first-ever African-American player to be named for that team. After this milestone he went from strength to strength until in February of 1954 he beat a DC-area record, scoring a total of 63 points in a single game.

Despite his incredible performance during high school, his poor school records prevented Baylor from progressing to college leagues. Knowing his immense talents, a friend of his went out of his way to arrange a scholarship for the College of Idaho. Here, Baylor averaged 31.3 points, but the dismissal of the basketball coach saw Baylor make his way to Seattle University, where he would be spotted by the Minneapolis Lakers for the first time. He was drafted by them in the 14th round in 1956, but decided to stay in school, where he helped the Redhawks make it to their only shot at the Final Four. Two years later, the Lakers picked Baylor again, first in the draft this time, and he accepted.

This period would be the height of Baylor's basketball career. During his time with the Lakers, he scored more than 23,000 points, in his best season averaging 19.8 rebounds per game. This feat has only been achieved by five other players in history and every single one of them was taller than 6-8.

Baylor was the sort of player who would let nothing stand in his way, setting records that remain unbroken to this day. Perhaps his most famous one was his 71 points in one game record (1960), which was not beaten until 2006 by fellow Laker Kobe Bryant. With Bryant's jersey being retired, it seems fitting that the Lakers might consider giving Baylor the same honor. He's already received induction into several Halls of Fame, as well as his own tournament at Seattle University, the place that really gave him the chance to prove his greatness.

It would be incredible to be able to bring back both players at their peak and watch them work together. Looking at their record at the moment, despite not having either of these basketball behemoths on their side, the Lakers are still looking formidable. Although they're sat pretty centrally in the table, only 10 wins separate them from the very top. However, it goes without saying that the best sports betting sites would have the Lakers pinned as unbeatable with these two on their side once more. Of course, sadly, a comeback from Baylor and Bryant obviously isn't possible, but it would make the idea of having a bet on their next game hard to resist.

If you fancy doing so anyway, then SBO.net has independently reviewed a selection of sites, for safety and security, as well as the offers that are currently available. Finding yourself a deposit match bonus is a good way to make sure that even if the Lakers don't manage to pull it out of the bag, you've still got a good.

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