INSTITUTE, W.Va. — The first black man to ever play in the NBA will be permanently honored at the school where he got his start. Earl Lloyd, now 85, will return to West Virginia State University in Kanawha County Friday night for a statue dedication and opening of the school’s new convocation center.
Lloyd said he learned a lot at the Institute campus in the late 1940s.
“The best teacher I ever had were those guys,” Lloyd said recently. “They babied me. They took care of me and said this was a once in a lifetime shot and do the best you can.”
Lloyd was a guest recently on MetroNews “Hotline” with Dave Weekley.
Lloyd led State to two titles in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1947-48. He stepped on an NBA court for the 1950-51 season for the Washington Capitols, the first African American player in the league. Three other black players would play that season. Lloyd was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2003.
Two of the best ever to play in the NBA will join Lloyd at Friday evening’s ceremony, Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson. The ceremony begins at 6 p.m.
The first games in the new convocation center are scheduled for Saturday afternoon. Both the women’s and men’s games have sold out.