Earl Lloyd, the first African-American to play in an NBA game, win a title, and coach, will be honored by his alma mater West Virginia State University on February. The school plans to unveil “Earl Lloyd Lobby” with a statue in Lloyd’s honor in its new convocation center and gymnasium. In addition to the statue, passersby will see highlights from the trailblazer’s collegiate and pro career. Read more about the Hall-of-Famer below, or by re-living our feature that ran in SLAM 94.:
“On October 31, 1950, a 21-year-old from Alexandria, Va., became the first African-American to play in an NBA game. That young man was Earl Lloyd. It was an honor long in the making for Lloyd, who grew up in the face of segregation playing four successful years of high school basketball before landing at West Virginia State College (now University). While at West Virginia State, Lloyd would help lead the Yellow Jackets to an undefeated season of 33-0 his sophomore year and attract the attention of the Washington Capitals.
One of three African-Americans to enter the NBA that season, Lloyd holds the distinction of being the first to step onto the court. After seven games with the Capitals, Lloyd was drafted into the military and later returned to play for the Syracuse Nationals, which would later become the Philadelphia 76ers. He wrapped a nine-season NBA career in Detroit, later serving as a scout and assistant coach for the Pistons.
Lloyd was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.”