Color Barriers in Sports Home


•Earl Lloyd•

Earl Francis Lloyd was born April 3, 1928. His most famous accomplishment was breaking the color barrier in the National Basketball Association when he played for the Washington Capitols on October 31, 1950 and became the first African-American player in professional basketball. He shared a similar honor with three other NBA firsts who all played a roll in breaking the basketball color barrier. Chuck Cooper was the first African-American to be drafted by an NBA team in 1950, and Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton was the first African-American man to sign a contract with a professional basketball team. Lloyd was given the nickname "The Big Cat" by his basketball team. Before his NBA career, Earl played for West Virginia State college, who was the only undefeated college basketball team. He only played seven games with the Washington Capitols in the NBA before he joined the U.S. Army. While he was in the army, the Syracuse Nationals picked him up and he played six seasons with them. He then moved to the Detroit Pistons and finally retired in 1960. Becoming the first African-American man to play a professional basketball game was a big accomplishment for Earl Lloyd, and the National Basketball Association. He had to go through a lot of harassment and racism from players and fans. He also set the mark for athletes both black and white, along with some others, and as a bonus he was a good basketball player!

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