Elgin Baylor and Gail Goodrich were Los Angeles Lakers teammates from 1970 to 1972, and upon the late forward’s death this week, the former guard shared a story about the team playing poker.
Goodrich told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday the organization had to put a poker ban in place as Baylor would take all of his teammates’ money.
“He’d take all our money. He was a poker player. We had to ban poker on the team because he — and Jerry West, they were taking guys’ per diem on the road,” he told the newspaper. He’d beat [legendary Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn] all the time in gin rummy. All the time. And he’d take Chick’s money.
“They’d land in a city and they’d start betting on whose luggage would come out on the luggage shelf first — those kinds of things.”
Baylor died Monday at the age of 86 of natural causes, the Lakers announced.
Baylor, the No. 1 pick in the 1958 NBA Draft, played 14 seasons in the NBA for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers, and he was a part of eight NBA Finals but never won a championship.
“Elgin was the love of my life and my best friend,” Elaine Baylor said in a statement. “And like everyone else, I was in awe of his immense courage, dignity and the time he gave to all fans. At this time we ask that I and our family be allowed to mourn his passing in privacy.”
After his playing career was over, Baylor served as a coach for the New Orleans Jazz and vice president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Baylor was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1977. His No. 22 jersey was retired by the team on Nov. 3, 1983, and his statue at Staples Center was unveiled on April 6, 2018.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.