By Veronica An
Earl Lloyd became the first black player to compete in the NBA as part of the Washington Capitols. During this 1950 debut game, the Capitols lost 78-70 to the Rochester Royals. Lloyd, nicknamed “Big Cat,” was a 6-foot-6-inch forward who would play seven games with the Capitols before being drafted into military service. Lloyd wasn’t the only African American to be drafted in 1950, Chuck Cooper played with the Boston Celtics and Nate “Sweetwater” Clifton played with the New York Knicks later that season. Lloyd averaged 6.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in seven games he played with the Capitols. After military service, Lloyd returned to the NBA to play with the Syracuse Nationals, he averaged 10.2 ppg and 7.7 rpg in 1955 and played in 72 games. He also became the first African-American assistant coach for the Detroit Pistons in 1968 and went on to become the first African- american bench coach for the Pistons in 1971. He continued to work with youth in the Detroit area and was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.