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Earl Lloyd: Wikis


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Earl Lloyd
Lloyd, right, shakes hands with Walter E. Gaskin in January 2006
Position(s) Small forward
Jersey #(s) 11, 8, 17
Listed height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight 225 lb (102 kg)
Born April 3, 1928 (1928-04-03) (age 81)
Career information
Year(s) 1950–1960
NBA Draft 1950 / Round: 9th / Pick: 107th

Selected by Washington Capitols

College West Virginia State
Professional team(s)
Career stats (NBA and/or ABA)
Points     4,682
Rebounds     3,609
Assists     810
Stats @
Career highlights and awards
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
  • Detroit Pistons (1971–1972)

Earl Francis Lloyd (born April 3, 1928 in Alexandria, Virginia, USA) is a retired American basketball player. He was the first African-American to play in the National Basketball Association, in the 1950-51 NBA season.[1] 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.


NBA career

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. 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 and his wife, Charlita, have three sons,[2] and four grandchildren. Earl currently resides in Fairfield Glade, Tennessee, just outside of Crossville, Tennessee [3].


In 2003, Lloyd was inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor.[4]

Lloyd was named to the NAIA Silver and Golden Anniversary Teams.[4]

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.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Ramsey, David (February 16, 2005). "Earl Lloyd: A Basketball Pioneer". Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved September 23, 2009.  
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Hall of Fame Biography

External links and references

Preceded by
Terry Dischinger (interim)
Detroit Pistons head coach
Succeeded by
Ray Scott


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