Who was the first black NBA basketball player?

When we think of greats like Michael Jordan, Julius Erving, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, or Magic Johnson, we think of monuments. Today, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are legends that no fan knows about.

However, no history is without a beginning. Without the pioneering players, audiences would not have discovered these gems.

If you’re wondering about who was the first black basketball player, Basketball Guide You have the answer. Let’s read on to find out!

Who was the first black basketball player?

The first black basketball player to play NBA Earl Lloyd was a native of Alexandria. Lloyd weighs about 200 – 220 pounds and is 6’5″ – 6’7″.

He entered the league on October 31, 1950, for the Washington Capitols. His opponent at the time was the Rochester Royals.

A few days later, the NBA welcomed two more black African-American players, Nathaniel Clifton and Charles Cooper. Clifton was the first player to be signed to an NBA team, and Cooper was the first player to be drafted.

These greats ushered in a new era for the NBA. Thanks to them, we can later see the performances of many other African-American stars.

Earl Lloyd – The Man Who Made History

On October 31, 1950, Earl “Big Cat” Lloyd was the first to break the NBA’s color barrier. Cooper and Clifton entered the race a few days later.

This man contributed to opening a new history for the tournament and creating a strong scenario for other players to shine.

past life

Earl Lloyd was born on April 3, 1928, in Alexandria, Virginia. His father, Theodore Lloyd, Sr., worked in the coal industry and his mother, Daisy Lloyd, was a homemaker.

Lloyd attended an isolated school. He was able to overcome difficulties and achieve success due to the support of his teachers and family.

“Moon Fixer” attended Parker-Gray High School until 1946. Lloyd’s tall build made him stand out defensively. This player’s basketball career started here, he played for coach Louis Randolph Johnson’s team.

Lloyd was a two-time All-State Virginia Interscholastic Conference and three-time All-South Atlantic Conference. West Virginia State University also offered him a scholarship to play basketball.

College career

While here, Moon Fixer led West Virginia to two CIAA conference and tournament championships two years in a row (1948-1949).

The Pittsburgh Courier named Lloyd twice (1949-50) and all-conference three times (1948-50).

The stats show Moon Fixer averages 8 rebounds and 14 points per game. West Virginia State was the only team with an undefeated record in 1947-48, at the time, 30-0.

In 1950, Lloyd earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education.

NBA career

Earl Lloyd was the #100 pick in the 9th round of the 1950 NBA Draft by the Washington Capitals. On Halloween night, he had an opening game and scored six points.

The striker played just seven games for the Capitols before the team finished in second place on January 9, 1951. He later entered the Army and fought in Korea, returning to play in 1952.

During the 1953-54 season, the Big Cat led the NBA in fouls and personal fouls. However, he bounced back for Syracuse the following season, averaging 7.7 rebounds and 10.2 points.

In 1955, Lloyd was one of the first African-American players to win an NBA championship with Jim Tucker, defeating the Fort Wayne Pistons. I played a total of 560 matches in nine seasons.

During his NBA career, Lloyd averaged 8.4 points, 1.4 assists, and 6.4 rebounds.

Coaching and scouting career

In 1965, Don Warrick, general manager of the Detroit Pistons, wanted Lloyd to be the team’s head coach. In 1971-72, he became the third black head coach in the league, after Bill Russell and John McClendon.

However, Lloyd’s coaching career was not smooth sailing. The Pistons had an overall record of just 22-55 that season.

He later worked as a scout with the Pistons and assisted in the drafting of Bailey Howell. He is credited with discovering talents such as Earl Monroe, Wally Jones, Willis Reed, and Ray Scott.

Earl Lloyd went on to become a basketball pioneer

For his dedication and accomplishments, Earl Lloyd was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2015, the actor died and lived to be 86 years old.

Lloyd was the pioneer and legend that ushered in a new era for basketball in the 1950s.

Even so, this man was very humble. He thinks his struggles are nothing compared to Jackie Robinson, who made his MLB debut in 1947.

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Frequently Asked Questions

To know more about NBA and its evolution through stages, read below.

Who broke the color barrier in basketball?

Watt Misaka, an Asian-American player, was the first to break the color barrier in basketball. This point guard was the first non-white player to play in the NBA in 1947.

Who was the first black NCAA basketball player?

George Gregory, Jr. was the first African-American college basketball player. He was the captain of the Columbia University team from 1928-1931.

Gregory’s playing position is central. This guy is 6′-4″, a perfect height.

5 Who was the first NBA team to start black players?

In 1950, the Boston Celtics made history by becoming the first franchise to draft a black player, Chuck Cooper.

In 1964, the Celtics became the first franchise to feature five black players when Knowles replaced an injured Heinsohn in the starting lineup.

When did blacks start playing college basketball?

In 1831, George Gregory Jr. became the first player to compete in a high school basketball tournament. This was also the time when blacks started playing basketball.

What percentage of the NBA is black?

According to data and research from Statista, the percentage of black players in the NBA in 2021 is 73.2%. The rate of white players is 16.8%. The percentage of Latino players or any race is 3.1%, and Asians are 0.4%.


Who was the first black basketball player? On October 31, 1950, Earl Lloyd was the first African-American in the NBA.

He is a pioneer in creating a new direction for the NBA. This man remained humble and dedicated throughout his life.

Other big stars can grow and shine in the tournament thanks to Lloyd. They made the NBA attractive and globally attractive.

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