By Brandon Zhu
On this day in 1958, Elgin Baylor made his debut for the Minneapolis Lakers at a home game against the Cincinnati Royals. The Lakers won 99-79. One of the greatest basketball talents to ever grace the court, Baylor was known for his immense athleticism and all-around game. Unfortunately, Baylor’s inability to help the Lakers win a NBA title and the seven losses they suffered in the finals has unfairly impacted his legacy. Then Lakers owner Bob Short, credited Baylor for saving the franchise. In a 1971, interview with the Los Angeles Times, Bob Short stated that Baylor was the franchise’s last shot at survival, “If he had turned me down then, I would have been out of business. The club would have gone bankrupt.” Baylor was a star from the get-go, in his rookie season he averaged 24.9 points (second in the league), 15 rebounds (third in the league), 4.1 assists (eighth in the league). In his 14 seasons with the Minneapolis Lakers, Baylor averaged 27.4 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 4.3 assists. He played a tremendous role in the Lakers success and put up one of the NBA finals greatest performances. In game 5 of the 1962 finals against the Celtics, Baylor put up a record 61 points and grabbed 22 rebounds while playing all 48 minutes of game 5. Baylor’s accolades include NBA Rookie of the Year, 10x All-NBA First Team selections, 11x NBA All-Star, and NBA Executive of the Year. Baylor was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1977 and his no.22 was retired by the Lakers.