How Elgin Baylor Became The Lakers’ Savior And The Greatest Player To Never Win A Ring


The late, great, NBA legend Elgin Baylor would have turned 89 years old today

Baylor was probably the greatest player to never win a ring and the most under looked player in NBA history, as he LITERALLY saved the Lakers franchise.

His career accolades are insanely impressive and read as followed:

NBA Rookie of the Year (1959), 11-time All-Star, 10-time All-NBA First Team (1959–65, 67–69), NBA Finals single-game record for most points (61) on April 14, 1962 against the Boston Celtics, Scored 71 points (8th highest in history) against the New York Knicks (Nov. 15, 1960), 87 regular season 40-point games, ranked seventh in NBA playoffs all-time scoring (27.0 in 134 games).

The Lakers were at the verge of bankruptcy but they flipped the situation around when they selected Elgin Baylor out of Seattle University as the 1st overall pick. Lakers owner Bob Short said the franchise would have gone bankrupt if Elgin Baylor hadn‘t been drafted to save the franchise. Not only did Baylor save the franchise from bankruptcy, he also saved them from being the worst team in the league.

Baylor took the team from the bottom of the league to the NBA Finals in just his rookie season. As a rookie, he earned an All-Star appearance and won the Rookie of the Year award. His impact was tremendous. He was a phenomenal player. During the 1962 season, Elgin Baylor only played 48 games because he was on military duty and couldn’t practice yet he still averaged 38-19-5.

His career peaked between 1960 to 1963, in that stretch, he averaged 33.8 PPG, 17.1 RPG and 4.5 APG. Unfortunately, Elgin Baylor had knee problems during the 1963–64 season and never was the same player after that. Despite being a dominant player in his career and having 8 Finals appearances, he never won a ring.

It just wasn’t meant to happen, as exactly when he retired, nine games into the 1971-72 season, because of knee injuries, the Lakers went on to have a 33-game winning streak and won the title.

That’s pure bad luck. Nevertheless, Baylor will be remembered as one of the greatest to ever play the game, and as the original highflyer before the likes of Julius Erving, Michael Jordan, and Vince Carter showed up.

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