Gus Ruelas/Associated Press
Man, poor Elgin Baylor. Not only did his Los Angeles Lakers rattle off a still-NBA record 33 consecutive wins after the Hall of Fame small forward called it quits early in the 1971-72 season, his longtime team ended up winning it all the following spring.
This after Baylor and the Lakers wound up on the short side of eight Finals over a 13-year stretch.
In a classy move, the Lakers gave Baylor a ring anyway. Which makes sense: Coincidental win streak notwithstanding, it’s hard to imagine that Lakers team—loaded as it was with the likes of Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain and Gail Goodrich—wouldn’t have won anyway.
But what does Baylor do? Sells it, of course. From the Los Angeles Times' Bill Plaschke (h/t to Deadspin’s Barry Petchesky):
Rarely have the contents of a Lakers legend's closet been so publicly unearthed. Never has the foundation of basketball's greatest franchise been so available for purchase.
It's strange, a yard sale of items spread out across the lawn by a player who spent his career with an organization that keeps everything within the family. It's almost unsettling, this dignified former Laker placing his finest moments up for bid.
For his part, though, Baylor claims he didn’t do it for the money.
I'm constantly getting calls from people interested in my stuff, and I finally thought, it's time. I've had some of these things for 60 years. It's time to share some of them with the fans who have been so wonderful to me...You're thinking there's something financial going on here, but it's not true. I have no financial problems at all. None of that. Seriously.
Seeing as how he put in 23 years as general manager of the Los Angeles Clippers, a job we assume paid fairly well, he's probably telling the truth.
For those who'd kvetch and wonder why an NBA legend would just part with so many great memories, bear in mind that, for these guys, the real memories happened on the court. What looks to us like priceless sports gold can, for many former players, just be, well, stuff.