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Earl “Big Cat” Francis Lloyd (1928–2015)

Earl “Big Cat” Francis Lloyd (1928–2015) 

Earl Francis “Big Cat” Lloyd, the first African American to play in a National Basketball Association game, was born on April 3, 1928 in Alexandria, Virginia. Lloyd was raised by his father, Theodore Benjamin Lloyd, and mother, Daisy Mitchell Lloyd, in the Berg area of Alexandria. Lloyd’s mother’s wisdom influenced him to become a good student and an outstanding athlete at Lyles-Crouch Elementary School and Parker-Gray High School. His coach, Louis Randolph Johnson, helped Lloyd to enroll at West Virginia State University (WVSU) after his 1946 high school graduation. The speedy defensive-minded Lloyd, at 6’7” tall, led WVSU to two CIAA Conference and Tournament Championships in 1948 and 1949. Lloyd was named All-Conference three times and was All-American twice, as highlighted by the Pittsburgh Courier in 1949 and 1950. Lloyd graduated from WVSU with his B.S. degree in physical education in 1950. 

Early life

Earl Lloyd was born in Alexandria, Virginia on April 3, 1928 to Theodore Lloyd, Sr. and Daisy Lloyd. His father worked in the coal industry and his mother was a stay-at-home mom. Being a high school standout, Lloyd was named to the All-South Atlantic Conference three times and the All-State Virginia Interscholastic Conference twice. Lloyd did attend a segregated school, but gives gratitude to his family and educators for helping him through the tough times and his success after school.

Lloyd was a 1946 graduate of Parker-Grey High School, where he played for Coach Louis Randolph Johnson. He received a scholarship to play basketball at West Virginia State University, home of the Yellow Jackets. In school he was nicknamed "Moon Fixer" because of his size and was known as a defensive specialist. To read more click here.