Letters to the Editor: ‘I never went to another Harlem Globetrotters game’: What Elgin Baylor meant to L.A.

Elgin Baylor, right, in a blue suit and a tie, stands next to a statue of a basketball player in Laker uniform
Elgin Baylor with a statue honoring him outside Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles on April 6, 2018.
(Reed Saxon / Associated Press)

To the editor: Elgin and Elaine Baylor were clients of mine for many years and were, individually and together, the epitome of the phrase “class act.” My condolences to her on her great loss — a loss that all Laker fans share. (“Elgin Baylor, Lakers legend and former Clippers executive, dies at 86,” March 22)

I happened to be at their home on the afternoon of April 7, 2003. After discussing our business, Elaine excused herself and Elgin and I chatted about that evening’s college basketball championship game.

I remember telling him that I thought the University of Kansas Jayhawks just had too many weapons for Syracuse University to handle, so I was anticipating a Kansas win. Elgin agreed that Kansas was indeed stacked, but then (and I will never forget it) he said, “But this kid Carmelo is going to be a superstar, and I would never bet against the superstar.”


Well, Elgin, you were right about the game that night and about Carmelo Anthony, but you were a superstar long before then and long after. Rest easy, Mr. Baylor; you’ve earned it.

Donnie Moore, Redondo Beach


To the editor: As I grew up in Seattle in the 1950s, Elgin Baylor was my first sports hero. More recently, I was fortunate to meet him in 2018 at the signing of his book “Hang Time.”

It’s a sad commentary on our country that in the 1950s such an obviously talented Black teenager was almost overlooked by colleges and universities, which were stepping stones to professional basketball back then. It took an owner of a car dealership to eventually bring him to Seattle University to ignite his career.

As a pro, Baylor was recognized as one of the leading superstars in the game. Unfortunately, many younger fans today have little appreciation of his outstanding talent.

Bryan Conley, Pacific Palisades



To the editor: Baylor arrived in Los Angeles with the Lakers in 1960 and introduced Angelenos to professional basketball. After seeing Baylor defy gravity with his hang-time slam dunks and jump shots, I never went to another Harlem Globetrotters game.

Elgin Baylor — not Jerry West, not Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, not Magic Johnson, not Shaquille O’Neal, not Kobe Bryant, great champions all — was Mr. Laker.

Donald Peppars, Pomona