Black History in Sports Part 1 of 4

Despite the severe racial, social and economic barriers that African American athletes have been subjected to throughout history, there have been notable individuals who have risen above the challenges and shattered all expectations. Not only did these athletes achieve “firsts” in their sport, but many also felt a heavy responsibility to stand up for their communities and use their fame to push for more inclusion both on and off the field. In this 4-part blog, I will be highlighting a few athletes who became pioneers in sports and help paved the way for black athletes.   

Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images
Copyright: 1950 NBAE


On October 31, 1950, 21-year-old Earl Lloyd becomes the first African American to play in an NBA game when he takes the court in the season opener for the Washington Capitols. His story is so mind blowing you won’t believe it. After only seven games with the Capitols, Lloyd was drafted into the military and sent to Korea for two years. When he returned to the United States, the Capitols had gone out of business, and so he went to play for the Syracuse Nationals (who later became the Philadelphia 76ers). He wrapped up his nine-season career in Detroit. After he retired from playing, he stayed in the Motor City, serving as a scout and then as an assistant coach for the Pistons. In 1970, he became the first full-time black head coach in the league. He coached the Detroit team for a year, and then went on to work for the city, in the police department and as a school administrator. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003. He died in 2015. 

Source: Warriors TV at

Lloyd’s impact remains to this day. Like others breaking the color barrier, he suffered racial prejudice. Lloyd was refused service at hotels and restaurants and was the subject of racial epithets hurled from the stands. Most of his teammates were generally accepting of him, as they had played on integrated teams in college.  

He deserves our recognition because his efforts have paved the way for the stars of today. 



Lala is a Finance Manager with 11 years of experience working alongside banking executives and financial advisers. Lala was born and raised in New Orleans, La where she currently resides. Lala has also worked with many sports organizations in the city of New Orleans becoming lead coordinator working closely with athletes. Lala owns her own crafting company -Lala’s Closet- and has a podcast-Lalasaidwhat. Lala is a powerful force in the workplace and uses her positive attitude and tireless energy to encourage others to work hard and succeed. Lala received a bachelor's degree from the University of Memphis, where she played basketball on a full scholarship. Lala is inspired daily by her two sons William and Lincoln. She is very opinionated when it comes to sports and loves to speak her mind. Hobbies include basketball, reading and spectating video games.

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1 Response

  1. DILLON says:

    Wow that is truly amazing. Cant believe they drafted him. Great article makes me happy times are better imagine Lebron getting drafting

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