Earl Lloyd, the first Black player in NBA history, died Thursday. He was 86.
Lloyd's alma mater, West Virginia State, confirmed his death. It did not provide details. Lloyd made his NBA debut in 1950 for the Washington Capitals, just before fellow Black players Sweetwater Clifton and Chuck Cooper played their first games.
"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."