Hall of Fame forward Elgin Baylor is set to auction off hundreds of personal items, including his 1971-72 Lakers championship ring and his 1959 Rookie of the Year trophy, at a Julien's Auctions exhibition in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Friday.
Baylor, 78, earned All-American honors at Seattle University before spending 14 seasons with the Lakers, where he posted career averages of 27.4 points and 13.5 rebounds, made 11 All-Star teams and earned recognition as one of the NBA's 50 greatest players of all time in 1996. After retiring in 1972, Baylor went on to spend more than two decades as the GM of the Clippers, taking home Executive of the Year honors in 2006 before he was fired in 2008. Baylor later sued Clippers owner Donald Sterling, alleging age and racial discrimination, but a jury ruled against him in 2011.
All told, Baylor is auctioning 358 items that go all the way back to his high school days. The auction lot includes numerous items given to Baylor by former Clippers players, like Darius Miles and Elton Brand, and assorted NBA stars, including David Robinson and Shaquille O'Neal.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Baylor says he is not facing financial hardship.
"You're thinking there's something financial going on here, but it's not true,'' he said. "I have no financial problems at all. None of that. Seriously."
The collection of items -- which includes everything from his golf clubs to bobbleheads to basketball cards -- is presented in a massive PDF file that includes this letter of introduction from Baylor.
I have always felt that I should let my actions speak for themselves, especially on the basketball court. As a young teenager growing up in Washington, D.C., I never would have dreamed that those actions would have led me to a career as a professional basketball player. I am honored and blessed to have had the opportunity to play the game of basketball professionally for so many years. After the humbling recognition that I received over my career, I finally decided it’s time to let go of some of these historic items that I collected and enjoyed along the way, giving fans and collectors an opportunity to share and celebrate my life and career.
Basketball is undoubtedly a team game, and you can’t play the game without great teammates and great coaches. From Spingarn High School in Washington, D.C., to the College of Idaho, to the University of Seattle, to the Minneapolis and Los Angeles Lakers, I’ve been fortunate to play alongside some of the best players the game has ever seen, and be guided by some of the best coaches. As I reflect on my career, I am grateful for my accomplished teammates and coaches throughout my career, as without them, my success on the basketball court would have been unachievable.
I am forever indebted to the people of Washington, D.C., Idaho, Seattle, Minneapolis and Los Angeles, as well as to all my fans around the world for the love and support they’ve given me on and off the court. My hope is that these items will bring you as much enjoyment as they have given me!
The auction's big ticket is Baylor's 1971-72 championship ring, pictured above, which is appraised at $40,000 to $60,000. Baylor played only nine games in that historic season, which saw the Lakers reel off a record 33 straight wins, before announcing his retirement.
Below, a few other items of note.
Baylor is parting with this ring that commemorated Seattle University's trip to the 1958 NCAA title game (valued at $6,000 to 8,000). Seattle lost to Louisville in the championship game, but Baylor was named Most Outstanding Player.
Baylor's trophy collection includes his 1959 All-Star Game selection trophy, his 1959 Rookie of the Year trophy, and a 1963 MVP plate given to him by the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association.
These bronzed Adidas are sure to catch the eye: television host Merv Griffin apparently gave them to Baylor as a retirement gift.
This Lakers jacket, with Baylor's name stitched on the back, is estimated to be worth $4,000 to $6,000.
This week's sign that the apocalypse is upon us: Baylor is even auctioning off these signed Sports Illustrated covers.
Baylor is not the only Lakers great to make auction-related headlines recently. Earlier this month, Kobe Bryant and his mother entered a legal dispute after Pamela Bryant attempted to auction hundreds of Bryant's personal items.