Former Lakers forward Jim McMillian died Monday at age 68.
He died from complications of heart failure at a hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, after being in failing health in recent months, according to his sister-in-law Denise Sheridan.
McMillian was the third-leading scorer on the Lakers’ 1971-72 team that won the franchise’s first championship in Los Angeles and had a 33-game win streak that still stands as an NBA record.
He averaged 19.1 points in replacing retired Elgin Baylor at forward, a move that coincided with the start of the team’s winning streak. The roster included Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Gail Goodrich, Happy Hairston, Keith Erickson and Pat Riley. They were coached by Bill Sharman.
McMillian was an “important part of Lakers history,” team President Jeanie Buss said Monday in a statement that also expressed condolences to McMillian’s friends and family.
McMillian, who played collegiately at Columbia, averaged 15.3 points in three seasons with the Lakers. His NBA career lasted nine years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.