About Earl Lloyd
Nicknamed "The Big Cat", Lloyd was one of three black players to enter the NBA at the same time. It was only because of the order in which the team's season openers fell that Lloyd was the first to actually play in a game in the NBA scoring six points that Halloween night. The date was October 31, 1950, one day ahead of Cooper of the Boston Celtics and four days before Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton of the New York Knicks. Lloyd played in over 560 games in nine seasons, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound forward averaged 8.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. He played in only seven games for the Washington Capitols before the team folded on January 9, 1951. He was then drafted into the U.S. Army at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, before the Syracuse Nationals picked him up on waivers. Lloyd served time fighting in the Korean War before coming back to basketball. In the 1953–54 season, Lloyd led the NBA in both personal fouls and disqualifications. His best year was 1955, when he averaged 10.2 points and 7.7 rebounds for Syracuse, which beat the Fort Wayne Pistons 4-3 for the NBA title. Lloyd and Jim Tucker were the first African-Americans to play on an NBA championship team. He then spent six seasons with Syracuse and two with the Detroit Pistons before retiring in 1961.
Regarding the racism black players faced in the early years of the NBA, Lloyd recalled being refused service multiple times and an incident where a fan in Indiana spit on him. However, Lloyd persevered and said that these instances only pushed him and made him play harder.
Lloyd once said; "In 1950, basketball was like a babe in the woods; it didn't enjoy the notoriety that baseball enjoyed.