In 1950, future Hall of Famer Earl Lloyd became the first African American
to play in a National Basketball Association game. A warm and gracious
man, widely loved and respected, Lloyd has lived what he describes as an
"incredible journey" and has spent eighty years gathering passionate lessons
from that experience.
He was born in Virginia, a state he describes as "the cradle of segregation,"
only sixty-two years after the end of the Civil War. Nicknamed "Moonfixer"
in college, Lloyd led West Virginia State to two CIAA Conference and
Tournament Championships and was named All-American twice. One of
three African Americans to enter the NBA at that time, Lloyd played seven
games for the Washington Capitals before the team folded. He joined the
Syracuse Nationals for six seasons and later played for the Detroit Pistons
before he retired in 1961.
Throughout his career, he quietly endured the overwhelming slights and
exclusions that went with being black in America. Yet he has also lived to
see basketball-a demonstration of art, power, and pride-become the
black national pastime and to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama.
In a series of extraordinary conversations with Sean Kirst, Lloyd reveals
his fierce determination to succeed, his frustration with the plight of many
young black men, and his sincere desire for the nation to achieve true
equality among its citizens.