Earl F. Lloyd

On the night of October 31, 1950, Earl Lloyd, a forward with the Washington Capitols, became the first African-American to play in an NBA game. From that moment, Lloyd would forever change how African-Americans would integrate into professional basketball. Lloyd’s ability to conduct himself with grace, style, and professionalism both on and off the court during an era of segregation became the model for others to follow. Lloyd was a two-time All-America selection at West Virginia State where he helped lead his school to an undefeated 30-0 season in 1947-48, a conference championship, and unofficial “national champion” status as voted by several black newspapers. The 6-foot-8 Lloyd enjoyed a solid NBA career with the Capitols, Syracuse Nationals, and Detroit Pistons. A rugged power forward who became a starter on Syracuse’s NBA championship team in 1955, Lloyd was known for his defensive play on the opponent’s top scorer, rugged rebounding, and effective offensive game.