Elgin Baylor respected by Lakers with bronze statue during Staples Center

12:36 AM ET

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers denounced a bronze statue of Elgin Baylor in a center of Staples Center’s Star Plaza before Friday night’s diversion opposite a Minnesota Timberwolves.

Baylor became a sixth Laker to be respected with a statue outward a arena, fasten Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Shaquille O’Neal and play-by-play announcer Chick Hearn.

The Lakers respected Baylor with a video reverence featuring former teammates, associate Laker legends and important adversaries, including West, Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Pat Riley, Bill Russell, James Worthy, Jamaal Wilkes, Gail Goodrich and Walt Frazier.

“Before there was Dr. J [Julius Erving] and a man named Michael Jordan, there was Elgin Baylor,” Magic Johnson pronounced in a tribute.

“Chick Hearn pronounced he was improved than anybody he had ever seen,” James Worthy pronounced in a tribute.

“He was unique. He helped build basketball here. The Lakers wouldn’t be a Lakers but him,” Jerry West pronounced in a tribute.

The Lakers comparison Baylor with a initial altogether collect in 1958. According to former Lakers and stream group tone commentator Stu Lantz, Baylor’s attainment — and evident success and value — expected saved a Minneapolis Lakers authorization from declining altogether.

“Rumor has it that a Minneapolis Lakers, had they not been means to get Elgin, they might have left under,” pronounced Lantz, who moderated a ceremony. “In essence, Elgin kind of saved a Lakers. That’s some of a reasons since we’re here today.”

Baylor played 14 seasons with a Lakers — dual in Minneapolis and 12 in Los Angeles. He has career averages of 27.4 points, 13.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 846 games.

Bryant, who was incompetent to attend a ceremony, paid loyalty to Baylor with a apart minute-long video.

“Personally, we would like to conclude we since I’ve stolen so many of your moves — it’s not even funny,” Bryant said. “… Hopefully this era of basketball players know that doesn’t come from me, that doesn’t come from Jordan — it comes from players like yourself.”

After a video tribute, West, Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar, O’Neal and mythological musician Bill Withers any gave speeches about Baylor on a dais, while several former Lakers attended a rite in a crowd, including Worthy, Wilkes, Michael Cooper and former Lakers actor and ubiquitous manager Mitch Kupchak.

West, who was teammates with Baylor for 12 seasons, was a many romantic speaker, ripping adult during several points and bestowing a top probable regard on Baylor.

“This is one of a biggest group I’ve ever met in my life,” West said.

Following West’s speech, a Lakers denounced a 2,300-pound, scarcely 16-foot-9 statue. The statue was combined by artists Omri Amrany and Gary Tillery, both of a Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt-Amrany.

“I positively conclude all a smashing things people have pronounced about me,” Baylor said. “But but a smashing teammates, [this] positively wouldn’t have been possible. I’d only like to conclude my teammates.”

Baylor was inducted into a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1977. The Lakers late his No. 22 jersey in 1983. He was an 11-time All-Star (All-Star Game MVP in 1958-59), a 1958-59 Rookie of a Year and 10-time All-NBA first-team selection.

Baylor was a initial actor to measure 70 points in a game, removing 71 opposite a New York Knicks on Nov. 15, 1960. Baylor binds a all-time single-game Finals scoring record with 61 points opposite a Boston Celtics.

Information from a Associated Press was used in this report.

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