Friday, July 11, 2014


Oh, what could have been?  A lot of folks around my age, a generation or more removed from the existence of the Minneapolis Lakers, know of them as the NBA's first dynasty.  I get the feeling that we do not all realize they had fallen on seriously hard times during the post-George Mikan era, and were in danger of folding altogether after finishing at the rock bottom of the NBA standings in 1957-58.  The Lakers selected Elgin Baylor first overall in the 1958 NBA Draft and found themselves in the Finals at the end of his 1958-59 rookie season.

While Baylor may have saved the Lakers from folding, he could not save them from moving to Los Angeles.  After his second season in Minneapolis, the team headed west.  In L.A., Baylor would team with fellow Hall of Famers Jerry West and (later on) Wilt Chamberlain to lead the Lakers to seven NBA Finals appearances, though they would lose each time to the Boston Celtics.  The Lakers would finally break through in 1972.  Baylor retired earlier during that season and did not appear in the Finals, but he was awarded his first NBA Championship ring anyway.

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