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Alexandria’s Earl Lloyd Was the First Black Man in the NBA, and Now There’s a Street Named After Him

Nearly 70 years after taking the court as the first Black man to play in the NBA, Alexandria basketball legend Earl Lloyd was honored with a street in his name by the City Council on Saturday.

Council unanimously approved naming the 1000 block of Montgomery Street in Old Town “Earl F. Lloyd Way” in honor of the first Black man to ever play in the National Basketball Association. The street is located in the Parker-Gray neighborhood in the 1000 block of Montgomery Street between N. Patrick Street and N. Henry Street.

“We’re honoring a son of Alexandria, someone who made some very very significant contributions to our nation, and, and we’re proud to do so,” Mayor Justin Wilson said at a public hearing on Saturday (October 17).

Lloyd, who graduated from Parker-Gray High School, was an All-American athlete at West Virginia State University, and on October 31, 1950, at the age of 21 was the first Black player to play in an NBA game as a member of the Washington Capitols. He won an NBA championship five years later with the Syracuse Nationals, played in the league for a decade and later scouted and coached for the Detroit Pistons. Lloyd passed away in 2015.

Earl F. Lloyd Way will be added to signage, but won’t change the mailing addresses along the block, which is a practice that Wilson says will help in honoring more people down the road with more street naming.

“We are a very old city, and so we have a lot of history we have to recognize,” Wilson said. “We’ve actually run out of things to name, and so this actually opens up a lot of opportunities for us.”

The city’s African American Hall of Fame led the effort for the name change, and is working to unveil a statue of Lloyd at the at Charles Houston Recreation Center at the end of the month in honor of his first official NBA game.

Photo via City of Alexandria

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