Earl Francis Lloyd (April 3, 1928 – February 26, 2015) was an American professional basketball player. He was the first black person to play in the National Basketball Association, in the 1950–51 NBA season. Three other African Americans played in the same season: Chuck Cooper, Nathaniel Clifton, and Hank DeZonie.
Lloyd, a forward known for his defense, played collegiately at West Virginia State College, was selected in the ninth-round of the 1950 NBA draft by the Washington Capitols. On October 31, 1950, Lloyd became the first African American to play in an NBA game, against the Rochester Royals.
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). As a senior, he averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds per game, while leading West Virginia State to a second place finish in the CIAA Conference and Tournament Championship. In 1947-48, West Virginia State was the only undefeated team in the United States.
By Dean Hanley
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