The Planning Commission on Tuesday will consider a request to name the 1000 block of Montgomery Street in Old Town after Alexandria basketball legend Earl Lloyd, the first Black man to ever play in the National Basketball League.
The honorific street name ‘Earl F. Lloyd Way’ would be located in the Parker-Gray neighborhood in the 1000 block of Montgomery Street between N. Patrick Street and N. Henry Street.
The African American Hall of Fame is leading the effort, and is also working to unveil a statue of Lloyd at the at Charles Houston Recreation Center on October 31, which was the day Lloyd played his first official NBA game.
According to the application:
Before the glitz, the glamour, and the glory, before Michael Jordan, before Irvin [Magic] Johnson, before Julius [Doctor] Irvin, before Kareem Abdul Jabbar, before Bill Russell, and Wilt Chamberlain, before basketball as we know it today there was a pioneer, a man who paved the way for all of today’s stars, a man who helped knock down the barriers of racism in the NBA, showing the rest of the world that African Americans know how to play the game of basketball on the highest level.
Lloyd, who was affectionately known as “The Big Cat,” was born in Alexandria in 1928, graduated from Parker-Gray High School, was an All-American basketball player at West Virginia State University and joined the NBA in 1955. He won a national championship five years later with the Syracuse Nationals.
If later approved by City Council, the honorific street name would be added to signage, but “would not change the mailing addresses for lots along the block,” according to a staff report.
Photo via City of Alexandria