NBA’s first black player, Earl Lloyd, dies at 86

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Photo: Facebook / Earl F. Lloyd Foundation / MGN

The first black player in NBA history has died at the age of 86.

West Virginia State confirmed that Earl Lloyd died on Thursday.

He was 86-years-old.

“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.”

However, details about his death were not released.

“The NBA family has lost one of its patriarchs,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “Earl Lloyd, the first African-American to play in an NBA game, was as inspirational as he was understated. He was known as a modest gentleman who played the game with skill, class, and pride. His legacy survives in the league he helped integrate, and the entire NBA family will strive to always honor his memory. Our deepest condolences to the Lloyd family.”

Lloyd made his NBA debut in 1950 for the Washington Capitals, becoming the first black player in the league.

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