Who was the first African-American to play in the NBA?
Although it’s not an uncommon
sight to see African-Americans playing basketball in the National Basketball
Association today, it was in 1950. This was the first year that would see an
African-American play in the NBA. The date was October 31, 1950 and the player
was the now legendary Earl Lloyd.
His nickname was “The Big Cat” and he joined the
NBA at the same time as three other African-Americans. He played for the
Washington Capitols and they had their season opener before any of the other
teams that had just made African-Americans part of their team. Charles Cooper,
who played for the Boston Celtics, became the second African-American to play in
the NBA the next night. It was four days later that Nick “Sweetwater” Clifton
became the third African-American to play in the NBA for the New York Knicks.
Earl Lloyd played in over 560 games over a nine
year period in the NBA. He averaged 8.4 points and 6.4 rebounds in a game. He
was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.
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