Earl Lloyd, who made history by becoming the first African-American to play in an NBA game, died Thursday. He was 86.
Lloyd was an all-conference standout at West Virginia State College before making his NBA debut in 1950 for the then-Washington Capitals.
“The State family mourns the loss of a fellow Yellow Jacket and trailblazer who was a true champion both on and off of the basketball court,” West Virginia State President Brian Hemphill said in a statement. “When Earl stepped out on the court on that fateful date in 1950, this remarkable man rightfully earned his place in the historic civil rights movement and, more important, he opened the door to equality in America.”
Lloyd was a member of the 1955 NBA champion Syracuse Nationals along with Jim Tucker becoming the first black players to play on a title team.
During his career, Lloyd averaged 8.4 points and 6.4 rebounds in nine NBA seasons. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.