Elgin Baylor addresses the media on Jan. 19, 2018.
(Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)

Elgin Baylor 'Grateful' for STAPLES Center Statue

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

Lakers coach Luke Walton called him “Kobe before Kobe” and “Jordan before Jordan.”

But Elgin Baylor said he hasn’t given much mind about his own legacy.

“To be honest, I never really think about that,” Baylor said before the Lakers’ game on Friday. “I just think about the good times I had with my wonderful teammates.”

There was certainly no shortage of good times with Baylor, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1977 and had his No. 22 retired by the Lakers six years later.

On April 6, he will receive one more honor: a statue outside of STAPLES Center.

“I was curious what it would be like to go through all this,” Baylor said. “I’m really grateful to get a statue.”

Baylor was drafted first overall by the Minneapolis Lakers back in 1958. He spent the entirety of his 13-year career with the Lakers, including the last 11 in Los Angeles.

During that time, he earned 11 All-Star appearances and was a frequent name on the league’s list of top 10 scorers (nine times), rebounders (eight) and assisters (six).

To this day, his 27.4 point per game remains the third-highest career scoring average in league history, behind only Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain.

And through it all, he maintained his love for the sport, never imaging the heights it would take him to.

“Even when I was in high school and college, all I thought about was having fun,” Baylor said.

With less than three months until his statue unveiling, all that’s left is to decide what it will look like.

But Baylor is leaving that to someone else.

“I haven’t even thought about it,” Baylor laughed. “Just smile and show my teeth.”

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