Elgin Gay Baylor was a professional basketball player, who played for Los Angeles Lakers. He was born on September 16, 1934 and began playing basketball from an early age. Two of his older brothers were also basketball players, and Baylor took naturally to the game. He was already known to be a gifted player by the time he was in high school, and was selected to be a three time All City player. However, his academic record had always been poor, and he dropped out of high school to work odd jobs and play in local leagues. He rejoined high school a few years later, by which time he had grown to his full height of 6 feet 5 inches and weighed 190 lbs. During this time he won a trophy for being the Area’s Best Basketball player for 1954. He broke several records that season and maintained his outstanding performance.
Because of his lackluster academic record, he did not get admitted to college but a friend helped him to get a scholarship to attend the College of Idaho. There he played both basketball and football, after which he set out to attend Seattle University. He led them to NCAA Championship finals, which the team lost to the Kentucky Wildcats. In 1958, he was drafted by the National Basketball Association, where he joined the Minneapolis Lakers (later renamed the Los Angeles Lakers). He left his final year of college at Seattle University and chose to play full time for the Lakers. The team had been performing poorly when Baylor joined and he was given a $20,000 contract to help bring them back on their feet. His contribution to the team’s improved performance has been acknowledged by all, including the owner of the LA Lakers Bob Short himself, who says that if Elgin Baylor hadn’t joined the team, it probably would have continued to perform miserably and might even have gone out of business entirely.
In his first season with the NBA, Baylor was named “The Rookie of the Year” with some of the best statistics in the game. He finished fourth in the league in scoring, third in rebounding and eighth in assists.