‘He Was Dr. J and Michael Jordan Before Dr. J. & Michael Jordan’: What Kobe Bryant Thought of Lakers’ Legend Elgin Baylor

Published 03/23/2021, 4:58 AM EDT
Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) takes a breather against the Denver Nuggets during the second half of the Lakers’ 103-88 game 1 first round NBA playoff game win at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, April 29, 2012. AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post (Photo By AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)


The past two years haven’t been the kindest to NBA fans. After losing two legendary figures in Kobe Bryant and David Stern, the Lakers were struck by yet another tragedy earlier today.

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Former Lakers forward and 11-time All-Star Elgin Baylor passed away today aged 86 years old. The Lakers confirmed the tragic news in a Twitter post earlier today.

Ever since he made his debut in 1958, Baylor absolutely tore the league apart with his skill. Playing alongside Jerry West, Baylor had made a name for himself because of his explosive scoring prowess.

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In a league dominated by big men like Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain, the 6’5″ forward showed that anybody could dominate the game. He was arguably the best player in the NBA to never win a championship.

Throwback: Kobe Bryant describes Elgin Baylor’s game

While casual fans might be unaware of the Laker great, those who closely follow the game were no stranger to the legend’s impact on the game.

Back in 2010, Kobe Bryant had an interview with Jackie McMullan. There, the ‘Black Mamba’ revealed what he thought of Baylor’s play style.

Kobe said, “Everything I heard about Elgin, everything I read about Elgin, was that he was Dr. J and Michael Jordan before Dr. J. & Michael Jordan. He gets to the basket and does all these incredible things. But I want to know how to get to the basket. It’s cool to be able to do all those fancy things, but how did you get there?… He had great footwork, very explosive first step and very strong. And we forget his size, how big he was and how strong he was. So once he did that shoulder and got by players, it was basically… at his mercy.”

Considering how great a player Kobe Bryant was, his admiration for Baylor spoke volumes about the impact Baylor had on the game of basketball.

NBA community reacts to Lakers’ legend’s death

Elgin Baylor’s death understandably shook players across the NBA. Many ex-players and current players paid their condolences to the Lakers’ legend.

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Elgin Baylor certainly had a massive impact on the game of basketball and its many players, and his presence will be missed across the NBA.

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Aditya Mohapatra

692 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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