Earl Lloyd, the first black player in the NBA who played 65 years ago and died last February at the age of 86, deserves, if anything, a stamp of approval for a life well lived.
There’s been a campaign supported by Lloyd’s son, Kevin, as well as the family of Wilt Chamberlain to petition the U.S. Post Office and have Lloyd commemorated just as Chamberlain was in 2014.
Lloyd’s debut for the Washington Capitals of the NBA in 1950 came just before Sweetwater Clifton and Chuck Cooper also broke down the race barrier in the pro basketball game.
Upon his passing, the National Basketball Retired Players Association said Lloyd “forever changed the game of basketball” on that Halloween night, and they called him “a leader, a pioneer, a soldier” — he missed the 1951-52 season while in the Army.
“Modest and willing to share his story with anyone when asked, Earl offered a vivid window into our nation’s segregated past and personified change in this country,” the NBRPA said. “A truly historic figure in American history has passed.”
Lloyd was on the 1955 NBA champion Syracuse Nationals, joining teammate Jim Tucker as the first black players to play on a championship team.
The 6-foot-5 forward averaged 8.4 points and 6.4 rebounds in 560 regular-season games in nine seasons with Washington, Syracuse and Detroit. He was a ninth-round draft pick out of West Virginia State.
Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003 as a contributor, he also coached the Detroit Pistons to a 22-55 record in 1971-72 and the first nine games in the 1972-73 season.
Information about how Kevin Lloyd has been leading the campaign has been reported by the Philadelphia Tribune.
See the petition below or send letters of recommendation to: Earl Francis Loyd, Postal Stamp Committee, 15 Pineridge Court, Crossville, TN 38558-6532.
Chamberlain’s sister, Barbara Lewis, has also been collecting supportive letters. She can be contacted at:
Barbara O. Lewis, 1312 Sun Copper Dr., Las Vegas, NV 89117-7022
Letters can also be sent to Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300, Washington, D.C. 20260-3501.