Historical Player Earl Lloyd Honored Today
Earl Lloyd remembers when he suited up for the Washington Capitols more than 60 years ago as the first black to play in an NBA game and wondering if he would make a good enough impression to stick around.
Lloyd and the Capitols lost the game. But he played well enough to earn a roster spot and break the color barrier in a league that had only three black players in 1950 and now features the highest percentage of African-American athletes in any of the major professional leagues.
Now, as part of Black History Month, the 83-year-old Hall of Famer will be honored for his breakthrough at halftime of the Atlanta Hawks-Miami Heat game on Sunday. The former West Virginia State standout along with six other African-Americans will be recognized at all Hawks home games this month.
Since Lloyd made history, the NBA has increased its number of black players to 78 percent, according to the league’s racial and gender report last year. About 83 percent of the players in the league are people of color.
These days, Lloyd said some of his favorite players to watch are LeBron James and Dwyane Wade of the Heat. He personally met James a couple years ago, but has yet to meet Wade.