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Elgin Baylor, legendary Hall of Famer and Lakers star, dies at 86

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Elgin Baylor, the Hall of Fame star who spent 14 years playing for the Minneapolis and Los Angeles Lakers, has died at 86. The Lakers released a statement about his death, which was from natural causes.

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Baylor is considered one of the all-time greatest players in the history of the NBA, and a vital figure in the history of the game. Athletic and quick, his trademark hanging jump shot was part of the movement that took the NBA off the ground and lifted it into the air, where it's stayed ever since.

A Washington, D.C., native, Baylor was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 1958. That was when the Lakers were based in Minneapolis, which changed before the 1960-61 season. Over his 14-year career, which he spent entirely with the Lakers, Baylor was an All-Star 11 times, was named to the All-NBA First Team 10 times, and was the Rookie of the Year in 1959. He and the Lakers went to the finals nine times during his career, finally winning in 1972.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - AUGUST 12:  Honoree Elgin Baylor (C) and guests attend the 16th Annual Harold & Carole Pump Foundation Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 12, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Harold & Carole Pump Foundation )
Elgin Baylor, Hall of Famer and legendary Lakers star, has died of natural causes at 86. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Harold & Carole Pump Foundation )

Baylor retired in 1972 and jumped into a coaching career just a few years later. He spent six years as an assistant and a head coach for the New Orleans Jazz before calling it quits, and then spent 22 years as vice president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Clippers. The team went 607-1153 during his tenure, which ended acrimoniously in 2008 when he was relieved of his duties. Baylor sued the Clippers and then-owner Donald Sterling for age and race discrimination in 2009, but the suit was rejected in 2011. Just three years later, Sterling was banned from the NBA and forced to sell the Clippers after recordings of him making racist comments were released to the public.

Baylor was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1977, and his No. 22 has been retired by the Lakers. The Lakers went beyond just retiring his jersey, though. Baylor and his signature hanging jump shot were immortalized in an amazing statue outside the Staples Center in 2018.

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 06:  Legendary Los Angeles Lakers and NBA Hall of Fame player Elgin Baylor looks on at the unveiling of his bronze statue in Star Plaza at Staples Center on April 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Elgin Baylor's statue outside the Staples Center was unveiled in 2018. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

The Clippers also released a statement on their former general manager.

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