Elgin Baylor

Elgin Gay Baylor (born September 16, 1934 in Washington, DC) was one of the most graceful and acrobatic forwards to ever play the game of basketball playing 13 seasons for the NBA's Minneapolis and Los Angeles Lakers.

Elgin Baylor played college basketball at the College of Idaho and Seattle University, leading the SU Chieftains to the NCAA championship game in 1958 (where they lost to the Kentucky Wildcats). Following his junior season, Baylor joined the Minneapolis Lakers for the 1958-1959 season and moving with them to Los Angeles in 1960.

In 1959, Baylor won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award and from the 1960-61 to the 1962-63 seasons, he averaged 34.8, 38.3 and 34.0 points per game, leading the Lakers to the NBA Finals eight times (although never winning). Baylor was a 10-time All-NBA First Team selection and went to the NBA All-Star Game 11 times.

Baylor began to be hampered with knee problems during the 1963-64 season and, while still a very powerful force, was never quite the same player, never averaging above 30 points per game again. During Baylor's career, the Lakers were a consistently powerful team, but were continuously overshadowed by the Boston Celtics dynasty of the time.

Baylor finally retired during the 1971-72 season because of his nagging knee problems. His retirement resulted in two great ironies. First, the Lakers' next game after his retirement was the first of an NBA record of 33 consecutive wins. Second, the Lakers went on to win the NBA Championship that season, something that Baylor never achieved. He finished his career with an astonishing 23,149 points, 3,650 assists and 11,463 rebounds over 846 games.

In 1974, Baylor was hired to be an assistant coach and later the head coach for the New Orleans Jazz, but had a lackluster 86-135 record and retired following the 1978-79 season. In 1986, Baylor was hired by the Los Angeles Clippers as the team's vice president of basketball operations, where he still is today.

In 1977, Baylor was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame and in 1980 he was named to the NBA 35th Anniversary All-Time Team and again in 1996, he was named to the NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.

Baylor ranked #11 on SLAM Magazine's Top 75 NBA Players of all time in 2003.


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Baylor ranked #11 on SLAM Magazine's Top 75 NBA Players of all time in 2003. In the 2005 edition the Cima Pantani was Colle Fauniera, where, Pantani showed the last glimpse of his talent in the 2003 Giro d'Italia. In 1977, Baylor was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame and in 1980 he was named to the NBA 35th Anniversary All-Time Team and again in 1996, he was named to the NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. When it was first introduced to the Giro in 1994 Pantani attacked on it leaving everyone behind, to finally earn one of his best victories at Aprica; in 1999 the Mortirolo waited for Pantani in vain since he was excluded from that Giro before the beginning of the stage. In 1986, Baylor was hired by the Los Angeles Clippers as the team's vice president of basketball operations, where he still is today. In the 2004 edition, the first Cima Pantani was Passo del Mortirolo, a terrible mountain pass that played a key role in Pantani's history. In 1974, Baylor was hired to be an assistant coach and later the head coach for the New Orleans Jazz, but had a lackluster 86-135 record and retired following the 1978-79 season. Giro d'Italia's organizers decided to dedicate a mountain pass to Pantani's memory every year.

He finished his career with an astonishing 23,149 points, 3,650 assists and 11,463 rebounds over 846 games. The time trial stage of the 2004 Alpe d'Huez was dedicated to Pantani's memory. Second, the Lakers went on to win the NBA Championship that season, something that Baylor never achieved. There may be riders who have achieved more than him, but they never succeeded in drawing in the fans like he did.". First, the Lakers' next game after his retirement was the first of an NBA record of 33 consecutive wins. Miguel Indurain paid tribute by saying "He got people hooked on the sport. His retirement resulted in two great ironies. Marco Pantani is buried in Cesenatico.

Baylor finally retired during the 1971-72 season because of his nagging knee problems. Twenty thousand mourners gathered at his funeral, during which his manager and close friend Manuela Ronchi read these final notes from his diary:. During Baylor's career, the Lakers were a consistently powerful team, but were continuously overshadowed by the Boston Celtics dynasty of the time. I'm lost for words.". Baylor began to be hampered with knee problems during the 1963-64 season and, while still a very powerful force, was never quite the same player, never averaging above 30 points per game again. It's a tragedy of enormous proportions for everyone involved in cycling. Baylor was a 10-time All-NBA First Team selection and went to the NBA All-Star Game 11 times. Reacting to his death, fellow Italian cyclist Mario Cipollini said "I am devastated.

In 1959, Baylor won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award and from the 1960-61 to the 1962-63 seasons, he averaged 34.8, 38.3 and 34.0 points per game, leading the Lakers to the NBA Finals eight times (although never winning). An autopsy revealed he died of a cerebral edema and heart failure, and a later coroner's inquest revealed that this was brought on by acute cocaine poisoning. Following his junior season, Baylor joined the Minneapolis Lakers for the 1958-1959 season and moving with them to Los Angeles in 1960. During the early evening of 14 February 2004 Pantani was found dead at a hotel in Rimini, Italy. Elgin Baylor played college basketball at the College of Idaho and Seattle University, leading the SU Chieftains to the NCAA championship game in 1958 (where they lost to the Kentucky Wildcats). At that point the chances of him once again being a contender in major races looked slim. Elgin Gay Baylor (born September 16, 1934 in Washington, DC) was one of the most graceful and acrobatic forwards to ever play the game of basketball playing 13 seasons for the NBA's Minneapolis and Los Angeles Lakers. Pantani admitted himself into a clinic in northern Italy in June 2003, suffering from clinical depression.

He seemed to be back during the Giro of 2003, where he did not win any stage but proved to still be able to compete with the best racers, finishing well-placed in the mountain stages. After that he raced only sporadically in 2001 and 2002, still morally defeated from doping suspicions. This was the last race won by Pantani, who left that Tour before its end. In that same Tour, up to Courchevel, he won another stage, attacking and leaving everyone behind him, even Armstrong.

The nickname was derived from Pantani's very prominent ears. On the final stretch, Armstrong allowed Pantani to pull away, giving him the stage victory, a gesture that Pantani resented, causing bad blood between the two riders, exacerbated when Armstrong referred to his rival as Elefantino (italian for 'little elephant', a nickname Pantani hated. Although well off the pace for much of the race, he showed a glimpse of his talent and determination when he matched the seemingly invincible Lance Armstrong pedal for pedal up the fearsome Mont Ventoux, leaving the rest of the field way behind. Pantani did also participate at the 2000 Tour de France.

In (2000) he was back on the Giro, without having really prepared for it, and did not seem to be able to compete with the other racers: he lost a lot of time and could not place any attack until the last mountain stage arriving in Briancon, in which he helped his teammate Stefano Garzelli to win the Giro and placed an attack without anyone being able to follow him, but he finished only second on the stage because he could not catch a persistent attacker. Despite the drug allegations, Pantani remained popular with many fans as something of a throwback to the great pure climbers of the past, explosively attacking in the mountains and making the race exciting, rather than grinding his rivals down. After his banishment from the Giro, his pride wounded, Pantani stayed away from the rest of the year's races. He was well on the way to winning, having already won four stages, with all his challengers far away in the classment and only one mountain stage left, when he was disqualified from the race (eventually won by Ivan Gotti) for a suspiciously high red blood cell count which suggested (although could not conclusively prove) use of the banned substance EPO (he was also found to have a hematocrit level of %60 after his crash in 1995 - far above the later adopted %50 limit [1] ).

Things turned bad for Pantani towards the end of the 1999 Giro. Under those conditions, Pantani, who was not touched by the doping scandal, looked like a saviour for that Tour and for cycling in general. There were two cyclists' strikes protesting the police atmosphere to which the Tour had fallen. The scandal touched not only the Festina team, but all the cyclists: during the Tour there were investigations of numerous teams and many of them left the Tour voluntarily.

That year, the Festina team was excluded from the Tour after one of its medical staff members was caught at the France-Belgium border with many illicit doping products hidden in his car. Unfortunately, because of the big doping scandal during 1998's Tour, the Tour that should have been remembered as Pantani's Tour, passed to history as the Tour of the Festina Affair; from the name of the French Team Festina led at the time by Richard Virenque. Not since the days of Lucien van Impe (1976) had a 'pure' climber been victorious, and Pantani's triumph resurrected the legend of the specialist mountain man flying up the steepest of ascents as if made of air. His achievement was all the more remarkable because for many years previously the Tour had been dominated by powerful time trial specialists, such as Miguel Induráin and Jan Ullrich, who possessed enough climbing ability to limit their losses in the mountains.

Although Ullrich showed his character by going on the offensive on the Col du Madeleine during the next stage to Albertville, Pantani followed him easily and went on to become the first Italian since Felice Gimondi (1965) to win the Tour. In the Pyrénées Pantani pulled back early time losses to Ullrich from the first week and then delivered a sensational coup by defeating him by almost nine minutes in one epic Alpine mountain stage, from Grenoble to Les Deux Alpes, via the Col de la Croix de Fer and Col du Galibier, under horrible weather conditions. And he was also triumphant in the Tour de France; where he was finally able to crack the resolute and hitherto indestructible Ullrich, who, though wearing the yellow jersey in his first year as team leader, had also showed his lack of experience by becoming isolated from his team-mates several times in the mountain stages. For the first time he won the Giro d'Italia, beating Pavel Tonkov and Alex Zülle.

The following year, 1998, was the year of glory for Pantani. Ullrich was then able to recover these losses and more in the individual time trials to which he was far more suited; thus, he ultimately claimed the yellow jersey, with Pantani finishing third overall after Jan Ullrich and Richard Virenque. Because of his slight build and unique ability, Pantani was virtually unmatchable in the high mountains of the Alps and Pyrénées and won two stages, establishing the record time for the climb of Alpe d'Huez, but the bulkier and more powerful Jan Ullrich showed his own determination and limited the amount of time he lost to Pantani during some titanic battles. Remarkably, he returned to action the same year in the Tour and mounted a strong challenge for the yellow jersey.

Pantani returned to action in the Giro in 1997, but was felled by a black cat which ran out in front of him during one of the first stages, ending his race. He broke his leg in two places and was left facing the end of his career. Just when he looked set to build on this success, Pantani was in a horrific collision during the Italian Milano-Torino race near the end of the 1995 season. He preferred this position so much that Bianchi built him a special bike with a very high head-tube to accommodate a higher handlebar position.

Pantani developed a unique climbing style in which he stayed on the drops the entire way, often while pedaling out of the saddle. His determination to win, which made him take big risks downhill and often arrive at the top of a mountain pass close to asphyxia, can be well explained by the way he answered to a journalist asking why he was so fast during a climb: "to make my suffering end sooner.". He impressed the other cyclists so much that, during a stage in Tour de France one of them clapped his hands as he was overtaken by Pantani. Even though he often lost a lot of time during individual time trials, it looked like no one could resist him in the high mountains.

During the early years of Pantani's career he created a sensation with his unique style of climbing. He also finished third in 1995's world championship. In 1995 he could not participate in the Giro because of an accident, but he was back in the Tour and he won two stages, at Guzet Neige and at Alpe d'Huez. Pantani made his Tour de France debut in 1994 finishing 3rd overall, but he did not win a single stage even though he attacked and left behind him Induráin (the Tour winner) during several stages.

He would probably have won that Giro if his team had not asked him to help their leader, Claudio Chiappucci, during the first mountain stages, where he lost a lot of time to Berzin. In 1994, during his second participation to the Giro d'Italia, he became known after winning two mountain stages and finishing 2nd overall after Eugeni Berzin and before Miguel Induráin, who had won the last two editions of the Giro. At 1.72 m and just 57 kg (5 ft 8 in, 126 lb/9 st), Pantani was a classically built mountain climber. .

He died of a cocaine overdose in 2004. However, since 1999 his career was dogged by drug allegations, following his failing a blood test in the 1999 Giro. The bandana he often wore and his attacking style of riding led to him being dubbed 'Il Pirata' (the pirate) by the adoring Italian "tifosi" - his fans. The high point of his career was to win the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia in 1998.

Marco Pantani (Cesena, January 13, 1970 – February 14, 2004) was an Italian cyclist widely regarded as being one of the best climbers of all times in professional road bicycle racing.

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