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Earl Lloyd  

In 1950, Earl Lloyd was the first African-American to play in the NBA.

In 1950,  Earl Lloyd was the first African-American to play in the NBA.

Lloyd, a 6' 6" forward, was known for his defensive skills. He played college ball at West Virginia State University and was selected by the Washington Capitols in the 9th-round of the 1950 NBA Draft. On October 31, 1950, Earl Lloyd became the first African-American in history to play in an NBA game.

In 1948 and 1949, Lloyd led West Virginia State to two CIAA Conference and Tournament Championships. West Virginia State was the only undefeated team in the United States in the 1947-1948 season..

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. Lloyd played in over 560 games in 9 seasons. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound forward averaged 8.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

Lloyd played in only 7 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 6 seasons with Syracuse and 2 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. Lloyd and Jim Tucker were the first blacks to play on an NBA championship team.


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