Earl Lloyd, NBA’s first black player, dead at 86

VIDEO: Earl Lloyd was a pioneer as the NBA’s first black player

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Earl Lloyd, the first African-American to play in a NBA game, died Thursday at 86.

A 2003 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame as a contributor, Lloyd served as pioneer and true barrier breaker for generations of African-American players and other players of color who followed his path into the league.

Lloyd suited up with the Washington Capitols on October 31, 1950. Charles Cooper and Nat Clifton would join him in the 1950-51 season, an arduous journey during those tumultuous times, but one that Lloyd, a former West Virginia State star, survived all of the drama and won a championship in 1955 with the Syracuse Nationals. Lloyd finished his 10-year playing career with the Detroit Pistons and when he retired he was 43rd on the NBA career scoring list with 4,682 points.

Lloyd went on to become one of the NBA’s first African-American head coaches, with the Pistons from 1971-72.



  1. stF1 says:

    Earl Lloyd was a true gentleman at the basketball court. This is such a sad news for all true fans.

  2. Patty says:

    Lloyd, we owe you so much! Rest In Peace!!!

  3. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    Earl Lloyd. My Guy.

  4. lorenz says:

    Hollywood should made movie about this great guy, That would be totally awesome,

  5. melindablunk says:

    I am thankful to have gotten the chance to know him and have conversations with him. One of the most selfless, humble people I will ever know. There aren’t enough words for Earl. My thoughts are with his family.