DETROIT (WWJ) — Earl Lloyd changed the game when he became the first African-American to lace up and play in the NBA in on Halloween night of 1950 with the Washington Capitols.
Lloyd died in 2015 at his home in Tennessee, but left his mark on the game. He and teammate Jim Tucker were the first African-Americans to win an NBA championship in 1955 with the Syracuse Nationals.
Lloyd finished his career with the Detroit Pistons in 1960 and later became the first African-American assistant coach with the franchise, then only the second black head coach in the NBA.
“My father is the one who couldn’t stay at hotels, he got spit on he got called the N-word on a regular [basis], he couldn’t eat with his teammates. But, you know, in 2017 all of that has changed,” Lloyd’s son, Kevin, said this week. “My father was a part of making that happen.”
A documentary about Lloyd’s life, titled The First To Do It, premiered during the NBA All-Star festivities in New Orleans last weekend and was later shown at the DIA in Detroit on Wednesday.
WWJ Newsradio 950 celebrates Black History Month by recognizing our local African-American professionals and their heroes – you can hear these reports throughout the day: 6:23 a.m., 9:23 a.m., 12:23 p.m., 5:23 p.m. and 10:23 p.m.