Elgin Baylor Remains the Biggest Loser in NBA Finals History

Elgin Baylor

Those waiting for the fall of LeBron James couldn’t wait to point out that if he would have lost the most recent NBA finals series against the San Antonio Spurs, it would have put him a 1-out-of-4 at that stage, once again hurting his credentials and legacy. But James ended up winning, with a huge game 7, and leaving no dobut who is the biggest loser in the history of the finals – Elgin Baylor.

Baylor is probably the prototype for players like Scottie Pippen, Grant Hill and LeBron James. A Small Forward, the size of today’s shooting guards, who could do it all, and especially had a variety of ways to score. He finished his NBA career (from 1959 to 1972) with 23,149 points (27.4 per game) and 11463 rebounds (13.5 per game). He made the All-Star game 11 times and was an All-NBA first team player 10 times.

He holds the record to most points in a single NBA finals game with 61 in 1962, but he also holds the record for most NBA finals without winning the title even once. Baylor played during the days when the Lakers bowed out each time they faced the Boston Celtics, even during the later years of the C’s domination, when the Lakers, with Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain, were considered as the favorites.

Baylor lost 7 times to the Boston Celtics and one more time to the New York Knicks (in 1970), playing on his rookie season for the Minneapolis Lakers before the moved to Los Angeles which some believed was cursed at the beginning.

Baylor played in the postseason for the final time in 1970. Knee problems became too much for him to overcome. In 1971, a season in which the Milwaukee Bucks won the NBA title playing the Bullets, Baylor played in only two games. The next season (1971-1972), nine games were enough for Baylor to announce his retirement. Coincidentally, the Lakers finally won the NBA title that season, beating the New York Knicks in the final, as Jerry West finally got his ring, making his record a slightly better 1-and-8.