By Cody Mello-Klein | [email protected]
Earl Lloyd, the first African American to play in the National Basketball Association, will be receiving a state historical marker at the site of his childhood home in Alexandria on Saturday.
Lloyd was born in Alexandria in 1928 and grew up at 1020 Montgomery St., where the marker will be raised. Lloyd played basketball at the city’s all-African American high school, Parker-Gray, earning All-South Atlantic Conference honors three times and All-State Virginia Interscholastic Conference honors two times.
In 1946, he earned a scholarship to play at West Virginia State, where he helped his team to two Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Championships. Lloyd was drafted by the Washington Capitols after he graduated in 1950, making him one of four African American players drafted into the NBA that year.
His first game on Oct. 31, 1950 also made him the first African American to play in the NBA. Lloyd would play seven games before he was drafted again, this time by the army during the Korean War. He served for two years, and then returned to the NBA in 1952 playing for the Syracuse Nationals. He played six seasons for the Nationals, including during the team’s 1955 championship-winning season. Lloyd and his teammate Jim Tucker were the first two African Americans to win an NBA championship.
Lloyd died in 2015 and has already been honored with a statue at Charles Houston Recreation Center. City Council also recently approved an honorary street name, Early F. Lloyd Way, in the block of Montgomery Street where his childhood home is located.
The state historical marker will be unveiled by the city and the Alexandria African American Hall of Fame during a ceremony on Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon at 1020 Montgomery St. RSVP for the event by emailing [email protected].