The first black NBA player, Earl Lloyd passed away Thursday at the age of 86.

Known is an athletic pioneer, Mr. Lloyd helped to break the race barrier in the sport that we all know and love today. He made his league debut in 1950, prior to Sweetwater Clifton and Chuck cooper who joined the league soon after, as a member of the former Washington Capitals. During his NBA career, Lloyd played for the then Syracuse Nationals and the Detroit Pistons as well. He played a total of just 560 games, missing multiple seasons while serving in the Army.

Reaping a net of accolades, Mr. Lloyd helped to bring a Championship to the Nationals, making him and his teammate Jim Tucker the first black players to win an NBA title. He was also a 2-time member of the CIAA All-America team and a 3-time All-Conference selection. He also became the first black Assistant Coach, joining the Pistons in 1968. Mr. Lloyd was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.

The Virginia native is survived by his wife three sons.



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