EARL LLOYD, FIRST BLACK MAN TO PLAY IN NBA, HONORED IN HOMETOWN OF ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA
His hometown commemorated the first African-American to play in an NBA game.
Earl Lloyd, an NBA Hall of Famer, was honored with a state historical marker in Alexandria, Virginia, according to the Alexandria (VA) Times. Lloyd was honored by the city on his birthday, April 3rd.
Lloyd died in 2015, when he was 86 years old.
The basketball player's statue may be found in the Charles Houston Recreation Center, which was once home to Parker-Gray High School, which Lloyd attended. Lloyd debuted in the NBA for the first time in 1950.
“Future generations will be able to see it and learn how a Virginian led the way, busting through the old ugly rules of discrimination and segregation and opening doors for the thousands of talented athletes who came after him,” said Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in a virtual ceremony.
Lloyd was born in Alexandria in 1928 and attended Parker-Gray, the city's all-Black high school, according to the Alexandria Times. He was named to the All-South Atlantic Conference three times and twice to the All-State Virginia Interscholastic Conference. He went on to West Virginia State University after that.
Lloyd, also known as "Moon Fixer" and "Big Cat," won the NBA championship with the Syracuse Nationals in 1955, according to NBA.com (now the Philadelphia 76ers). In the playoffs, he averaged 11.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He played his final two seasons with the Detroit Pistons, averaging 8.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. He retired in 1960.
Lloyd spent ten seasons after his playing days as a scout and assistant coach before being appointed to the Pistons' first Black "coach only" position in 1971-72. (Bill Russell and Lenny Wilkens coached before him but as player-coaches). Lloyd was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame as well.