Having recently been drafted by the Washington Capitols in the ninth round, Earl Lloyd became the first African-American athlete to play in the National Basketball Association in a game against the Rochester Royals on Oct. 31, 1950.
Lloyd, a forward known for his defense, previously played at West Virginia State College. Prior to the NBA, Lloyd led West Virginia State to two CIAA Conference and Tournament Championships in 1948 and 1949. He was named All-Conference three times (1948–50) and was All-American twice, as named by the Pittsburgh Courier (1949–50).
After the Capitols folded in 1951, Lloyd went to play with the Syracuse Nationals, where he spent six seasons. He spent two years with the Detroit Pistons before retiring in 1960. Lloyd coached the Pistons from 1972 to 1973 and was a scout for five seasons.
Lloyd passed away in 2015 at the age of 86.