Black History Month Spotlight: Earl Lloyd

Black History Month Spotlight: Earl Lloyd

(KFVS) - February is Black History Month, and in the spotlight for Feb. 2 is Earl Lloyd, the first African American to play in the NBA.

Two other black players, Chuck Cooper and Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton, also played in the NBA that season, but Lloyd was the first, suiting up for the Washington Capitols on Halloween of 1950.

Jackie Robinson had broken the color barrier in baseball just three years earlier, but Lloyd downplayed his own achievement. His recorded saying people were more used to seeing integrated college basketball games.

He only played seven games before he was drafted by the U.S. Army to fight in the Korean War, missing the 1951-52 season.

When Lloyd returned to basketball, the Capitols had folded.

He played for six seasons with the Syracuse Nationals, which later became the Philadelphia 76ers, helping the team win an NBA title in 1955.

Then he played two seasons with the Detroit Pistons before retiring in 1961.

Lloyd averaged 8.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game over his career.

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