Dunk-A-Ween 2010, 60th Anniversary of NBA's 1st Black Player
The NBA of today is dominated by black players who earn fame, fortune, and icon status as the best athletes on the planet. LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony are individuals that have benefited from the path that was laid down by pioneers Chuck Cooper, Earl Lloyd, and Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton.
Jackie Robinson broke the color-barrier on April 15, 1947 when he became the first black player to play in Major League Baseball. It was historical and can't be measured to in no way shape or form. That's the respect that is for Robinson and his legacy.
On Halloween (October 31st) of 1950 Earl Lloyd became the first black player to play in a regulation NBA game when he entered a contest playing for the old Washington Capitols vs. the Rochester Royals. Lloyd scored 6 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a 78-70 loss to the Royals. He played for the Capitols for one season 1950-51.
Earl Lloyd because of game scheduling played before Cooper and Clifton. Lloyd had the nickname "Big Cat" played 10 seasons in the NBA retiring in 1960 playing for the Detroit Pistons. He averaged 8.4 points and 6.4 rebounds for his career. He was also the first black coach for the Pistons during the 1971-72 season. Lloyd was drafted in the 9th round of the 1950 draft out of West Virginia State University.
Lloyd played for the Syracuse Nationals from 1952-58. He was a member of the 1955 NBA Championship team led by Dolph Schayes. The Syracuse Nationals are known today as the Philadelphia 76ers. Lloyd made history again becoming the first black player to play on a championship team. The Sixers are the oldest NBA continued franchise.
Earl is the only one of the 3 pioneers that is still alive today. He's 82-years old living in Tennessee with his wife Charlita. Chuck Cooper passed away in 1984 and Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton in 1990.
If Lloyd hadn't paved the way in 1950, who knows if Joe Bryant would have had the opportunity he got with Philadelphia in 1976. And if Joe hadn't come into the NBA in '76, who knows if his son Kobe would have had a chance to be the first guard to make the prep-to-pros leap in 1996. The domino effect Lloyd's career had on the NBA careers of African-Americans for decades to come cannot be overstated.
Vice President Joe Biden honored Earl Lloyd this past weekend in Washington, DC for his 60th Anniversary celebration. President Barack Obama is huge fan of basketball.
The NBHHCM (National Basketball & Hip-Hop Culture Month) Foundation in association with Dunkadelic Sports Marketing would like to extend its well wishes and congratulations to Earl "Big Cat" Lloyd for his pioneering effort in 1950, and to his legacy to the game of basketball. He is also recognized for his contribution to the hoops and hip-hop culture born in 1984 (The Dunkadelic-Era In America) that thrives today because of great pioneering men like yourself. Again congratulations on your 60th Anniversary of becoming the first black player in NBA history.
The statement was provided by Derrick E. Vaughan of NBHHCM and Dunkadelic Sports Marketing.