Sunday, September 16, 2012

This Day in History September 16, 1934

By Thadius856 (SVG conversion) & Parutakupiu (original image) (Own work) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
For all you basketball fans out there, this piece of history should interest you.  On this date in 1934, Elgin Baylor was born (and he is still alive) in Washington D.C.  He was named for his father's favorite watch--hence his somewhat unusual name.  His scholastic record was sketchy at best, and he played basketball off and on at various places.

In 1958, he was the number one overall pick for the Minneapolis Lakers, and he was convinced to give up his final year in college to play for them.  They were in real trouble as a franchise, and they agreed to pay him $20,000 a year.  He was their last shot to save their team.  He played so well that he was Rookie of the Year.

The Lakers moved to L.A. for the 1960-1961 year, and on November 15, 1960, he scored a record 71 points in a single game.   During his basketball playing career that ended in 1972, he never won a championship game with the Lakers.  Following his retirement, they scored their first championship.

He went on to be a coach with the New Orleans Jazz, and in 1986, he served as the Los Angeles Clippers' vice president.  He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1977.  It is clear that had he been around the game 25 years later, he would have had an incredible amount of commercial success and possible as well-known as Michael Jordan.  But this was before sports commercialism.

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