Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant wouldn’t have the platform to be great without Earl Lloyd. In 1950, Lloyd became the first Black basketball player to play in an NBA game. Five years after entering the league, he became the first Black player to win an NBA title.
To pay homage to Lloyd’s legacy, the Earl F. Lloyd Foundation has petitioned the U.S. Postal Service to issue a stamp in his honor.
We recently sat down with Lloyd’s son, DJ Spive, to discuss why it’s important for Lloyd to be honored by the U.S. Postal Service.
How did the idea of Earl Lloyd being featured on a stamp come about? Our family along with the Earl Lloyd Foundation (a 501c3 foundation that helps inner-city youth) wanted to share the legacy of Earl F. Lloyd with not only young people who love the NBA and basketball in general, but to the entire world.
How has the NBA and NBAPA reacted to the petition?
The NBA Legends (retired players), Harlem Globetrotters, the CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame, and the family of Wilt Chamberlain (the only NBA player so far to have a stamp) have all reacted very positively and are supporting the campaign. We just sent out packets to the NBA this week.
Who are some of the top names who have backed this petition, thus far?
Steph Curry from Golden State has signed. All of the 2015 NBA rookie class have signed. We have the support of Tony Parker (Spurs), Michael Finley (Ex-Spur). We are still contacting current players. They are off for the summer. We sent packets to Magic Johnson, who has supported Earl Lloyd in the past. The Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, Washington Wizards and Miami Heat are all teams we have relationships with.
Why is it important for the next generation to understand the legacy of Earl Lloyd?
We feel it’s important to preserve African-American history, especially in a sport that in 2015 is 76 percent African-American. In 1950, Earl Lloyd along with Chuck Cooper and Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton, traveled into uncharted territory, “The NBA.” They not only competed on the court, but carried themselves as total gentlemen off of the court, as well. If those men wavered ever so slightly, who knows when the next wave of Blacks would enter the league. Our young folks need to know this!
How will this stamp have an impact on the legacy of Earl Lloyd?
This stamp will remind people that things don’t just happen; there is always a beggining and people that sacrifice to pave the way for those coming behind themselves. That is the story of America; it’s the story of the NBA and it’s the story of Earl F. Lloyd.
Sign the petition for Earl Lloyd’s commemorative stamp here.