How did Elgin Baylor get his name?

Basketball player Elgin Baylor (1934-2021)
Elgin Baylor

Elgin Baylor, considered one of the greatest professional basketball players of all time, spent his entire 14-year NBA career (1958-1971) with the Lakers.

He was born Elgin (pronounced EL-jin) Gay Baylor on September 16, 1934, to parents John and Uzziel Baylor of Virginia.

Why the first name “Elgin”?

While my mother is giving birth, my father comes up with my name as he glances at his Elgin watch in the waiting room. He likes the way the word comes off his tongue. Elgin. It sounds regal. Plus he knows his Elgin watch to be steady, dependable, and on time, all admirable qualities that he hopes to pass on to his new son.

The Elgin National Watch Company was based in the Illinois town of Elgin, located about 40 miles away from Chicago. The town’s founders named it after the Scottish hymn “Elgin.”

Elgin Baylor grew up in Washington, D.C., and one of his namesakes was D.C.-born R&B singer Elgin Baylor Lumpkin, better known as Ginuwine.


Image: Adapted from Elgin Baylor Night program (public domain)

[Latest update: Mar. 2024]

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