There are three players who claim to be the first African American basketball player in the NBA, each with legitimate reason to claim this. - Chuck Cooper: first African American to be drafted by an NBA team - Nat Clifton: first African American to sign a contract and make the roster with an NBA team - Earl Lloyd: first African American to play in an NBA game
Earl Lloyd was the first black NBA player in 1950. *Became the first African-American to play in an NBA game on October 31, 1950 *Became the first African-American to win an NBA championship (1955 with Syracuse) *Became first African-American Assistant Coach with Detroit Pistons (1968-70) *Became second African-American head coach and first African-American bench coach with Detroit Pistons (1970-71) Earl Lloyd, who in 1950 became the first African-American to play in a NBA game with the Washington Capitols, was instrumental in integrating professional basketball as a player and coach.
First Black Basketball PlayerThe first black player drafted by an NBA team was Chuck Cooper, picked in the second round of the 1950 draft by the Boston Celtics. In the eighth round of the draft, Washington chose Earl Lloyd of West Virginia State. At about the same time, the New York Knicks signed Nat ``Sweetwater'' Clifton from the Harlem Globetrotters. Lloyd made his debut on Oct. 31, 1950, becoming the first black to play in an NBA game. Cooper made his debut a day later. Clifton, the first to sign a contract, played his first game on Nov. 4, 1950.
Earl Lloyd was the first black ever to play in an NBA game when he took the floor for the Washington Capitols on October 31, 1950 in Rochester, New York. Lloyd was one of three blacks to become NBA players in the 1950 season. The other two were Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton, who was signed by the New York Knicks, and Chuck Cooper, who was drafted by the Boston Celtics. Cooper debuted the night after Lloyd. Sweetwater Clifton was the 1st to sign but was actually the 3rd Black to play in the NBA. Chuck Cooper became the first black player to be drafted when he was chosen by Boston; Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton became the first to sign an NBA contract when he signed with New York, and Earl Lloyd became the first to play in an NBA regular-season game because the schedule had his Washington team opening one day before the others.
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