The NBA world mourns the loss of one of its pioneers and legends today, Elgin Baylor.
Baylor was the former GM of the LA Clippers for 22 years, and a superstar for the Los Angeles Lakers. He is both NBA and Los Angeles royalty. The Clippers issued a statement on his passing.
"The Clippers mourn the loss of Elgin Baylor, a transcendent player, a beloved teammate, and a pioneering executive. Baylor was a Los Angeles basketball institution, first as a superstar for the Lakers then as a general manager of the Clippers, leading the team's front office for 22 years."
Current Clippers advisor, Jerry West, was also a teammate of Elgin Baylor's on the Los Angeles Lakers. The duo are two of the most iconic players in NBA history, shared a special friendship. West also made a statement on the passing.
"I was made aware of Elgin's passing this morning and I'm saddened beyond belief that he is gone," West said. "I will forever cherish my days spent with him as a teammate. He was one of the most gifted and special players this game will ever see and he has never gotten his just due for what he accomplished on the court. My first few years in the league, he cared for me like a father would a son. He nurtured me and encouraged me like no one else had during that period of my life. We shared the joy of winning and the heartbreaking losses during the Finals. He was a prince both off and on the court. There are no words to describe how I feel at this time.
My deepest condolences to his dear wife, Elaine, his loving family, and his many fans and friends. I loved him like a brother."
Baylor was General Manager of the Clippers for 22 years and dealt with frequent racism from Donald Sterling throughout his tenure. He accused Sterling of being racist long before anyone truly learned about it. He stood up for players like Corey Maggette when Sterling would comment on his players' "beautiful black bodies." It was a true justice for Baylor when Sterling was ousted from the NBA. Despite all of that, Baylor managed to win General Manager of the Year in 2006.
Rest in peace to a true legend, icon, and terrific human being, he was 86 years old.