News & Politics

Elgin Baylor Has Died

The NBA legend was DC's greatest basketball player.

Photograph courtesy of the Charles Sumner School.

Elgin Baylor has died, the Los Angeles Lakers announced Monday. He was 86.

Baylor grew up on Heckman Street, Southeast, the old name for Duddington Place, Southeast. He was already a local hoops legend by the time he transferred to the new Spingarn High School in his junior year in the early ’50s. He started at the College of Idaho, then transferred to Seattle University, which won an NCAA championship with him. He played for the Minneapolis and later Los Angeles Lakers, where he played for 14 years, making the all-NBA First Team selection for ten of them.

Baylor “put DC on the map,” Sonny Hill, a Philadelphia basketball icon in his own right, told Defector’s Dave McKenna last year. Baylor, known as “Rabbit,” remains a dandy rebuttal to anyone who claims Washington isn’t a “real” sports town. (Among many others just in basketball, count Kevin Durant, Adrian Dantley, and Spingarn’s Dave Bing, too.)

Washingtonian named Baylor among the top DC athletes of all time in 2019. He went on to have a long career as an NBA executive.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.