||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2009)|
Lloyd, right, shakes hands with Walter E. Gaskin in January 2006
April 3, 1928|
|Died||February 26, 2015
|Listed height||6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)|
|Listed weight||225 lb (102 kg)|
|High school||Parker-Gray (Alexandria, Virginia)|
|College||West Virginia State (1946–1950)|
|NBA draft||1950 / Round: 9 / Pick: 100th overall|
|Selected by the Washington Capitols|
|Number||11, 8, 17|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Points||4,682 (8.4 ppg)|
|Rebounds||3,609 (6.4 rpg)|
|Assists||810 (1.4 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
|Basketball Hall of Fame|
Earl Francis Lloyd (April 3, 1928 – February 26, 2015) was an American professional basketball player. He was the first black person to play in the National Basketball Association, in the 1950–51 NBA season. Three other African Americans played in the same season: Chuck Cooper, Nathaniel Clifton, and Hank DeZonie.
Lloyd, a forward known for his defense, played collegiately at West Virginia State College, was selected in the ninth-round of the 1950 NBA draft by the Washington Capitols. On October 31, 1950, Lloyd became the first African American to play in an NBA game, against the Rochester Royals.
Lloyd led West Virginia State to two CIAA Conference and Tournament Championships in 1948 and 1949. He was named All-Conference three times (1948–50) and was All-American twice, as named by the Pittsburgh Courier (1949–50). As a senior, he averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds per game, while leading West Virginia State to a second place finish in the CIAA Conference and Tournament Championship. In 1947-48, West Virginia State was the only undefeated team in the United States.
Nicknamed "The Big Cat", Lloyd was one of three African-Americans to enter the NBA at the same time. It was only because of the order in which the teams' season openers fell that Lloyd was the first to actually play in a game in the NBA. The date was October 31, 1950, one day ahead of Cooper of the Boston Celtics and four days before Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton of the New York Knicks. Lloyd played in over 560 games in nine seasons, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound forward averaged 8.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
Lloyd played in only seven games for the Washington Capitols before the team folded on January 9, 1951. He then went into the U.S. Army at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, before the Syracuse Nationals picked him up on waivers. He spent six seasons with Syracuse and two with the Detroit Pistons before retiring in 1960.
Lloyd retired ranked 43rd in career scoring with 4,682 points. In the 1953-54 season, Lloyd led the NBA in both personal fouls and disqualifications. His best year was 1955, when he averaged 10.2 points and 7.7 rebounds for Syracuse, which beat the Fort Wayne Pistons 4-3 for the NBA title. Lloyd and Jim Tucker were the first African-Americans to play on an NBA championship team.
Lloyd once said; "In 1950, basketball was like a babe in the woods; it didn't enjoy the notoriety that baseball enjoyed." Like Lloyd, Clifton and Cooper had solid but not spectacular careers.
According to Detroit News sportswriter Jerry Green, in 1965 Detroit Pistons General Manager Don Wattrick wanted to hire Lloyd as the team's head coach. It would have made Lloyd the first African-American head coach in American pro sports. Dave DeBusschere was instead named Pistons player–coach. From 1972 to 1973, Lloyd did coach the Pistons and was a scout for five seasons.
Lloyd was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1993.
On December 1, 2007, the newly constructed basketball court at T. C. Williams High School in Lloyd's home town of Alexandria, Virginia, was named in his honor. Lloyd actually attended Parker-Gray High School, as Alexandria's schools were racially-segregated at the time. T.C. Williams—the subject of the motion picture Remember the Titans—was created as a combined, desegregated school two decades later.
In November 2009, Moonfixer: The Basketball Journey of Earl Lloyd, was released. Lloyd wrote this biography with Syracuse area writer, Sean Kirst.
In 2015 Lloyd, along with fellow basketball player Alonzo Mourning, was one of eight Virginians honored in the Library of Virginia's "Strong Men & Women in Virginia History" because of his contributions to the sport of basketball.
- "Strong Men & Women in Virginia History biography page". Library of Virginia. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
- Ramsey, David (February 16, 2005). "Earl Lloyd: A Basketball Pioneer". NBA.com/Sixers. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved September 23, 2009.
- The Official NBA Basketball Encyclopedia. Villard Books. 1994. p. 379. ISBN 0-679-43293-0.
- Goldstein, Richard (February 27, 2015), "Earl Lloyd, N.B.A.’s First Black Player, Dies at 86", The New York Times
- Hall of Fame Biography
- Kirst, Sean (October 20, 2010). "Earl Lloyd: In basketball, history's go-to guy". The Post Standard.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Earl Lloyd.|
- Earl Lloyd at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
- BasketballReference.com: Earl Lloyd (as coach)
- BasketballReference.com: Earl Lloyd (as player)
- Earl Lloyd's oral history video excerpts at The National Visionary Leadership Project
- Biography of Earl Lloyd at the Library of Virginia's Strong Men & Women in Virginia History page
- Lloyd and family speaking at the 2015 Strong Men & Women in Virginia History Event on YouTube