Being Black

First African American NBA Player


  • There’s Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Steph Curry, and many more. 
  • There are many Black Men in the National Basketball Association but it all started with Earl Lloyd 
  • Lloyd, 21 years old, was the first African American to play in a NBA game on October 31, 1950 
  • He went on the court as the season opener for the all white team, the Washington Capitols
  • Earl Lloyd grew up in Jim Crow, Virginia where he was the star of his Basketball Team at West Virginia State 
  • Until a friend told him, Lloyd didn’t know that he had been drafted in the ninth round


  • Although he was the only African American on his team, most of his teammates were previously on integrated teams, so they were very welcoming 
  • After 7 games with the Capitols, Lloyd was drafted to the military and sent to Korea for 2 years
  • When he returned, the Capitols no longer existed. So he went to play for the Syracuse Nationals (later became the Philadelphia 79ers)
  • He finished his 9 season career in Detroit 
  • After he retirement, he stayed in the Motor City and became a scout and then an assistant coach for the Pistons.
  • In 1970, he became the first full-time black head coach in the league.
  • He was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2003
  • Earl Lloyd passed on February 26, in 2015



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