Alexandria, VA

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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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

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This fall, a statue of Alexandria’s Earl Lloyd, the first Black man to play basketball in the National Basketball Association, will be unveiled in the African American Hall of Fame inside Charles Houston Recreation Center.

The City Council approved the gift from Lloyd’s wife, Charlita Lloyd, at its meeting on Tuesday night. The statue, which is three feet wide, nine feet long and six feet tall, is exactly like the statue of Lloyd dedicated at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.

“It’s an extraordinary gift, and I think it would help a lot of young men and women to be inspired,” said City Councilwoman Del Pepper.

Lloyd, who was affectionately known as “The Big Cat,” was born in Alexandria in 1928 and graduated from Parker Gray High School before becoming an All-American basketball player at West Virginia State University and joining the NBA in 1955. He won a national championship five years later with the Syracuse Nationals.

Mayor Justin Wilson said the city appreciated the contribution from the Lloyd family.

“We certainly thank them for their generosity and for the opportunity to recognize one of Alexandria’s native sons,” Wilson said.

The city is currently working to unveil the statue at Charles Houston Recreation center on October 31, which is the date that Lloyd played his first official NBA game.

Photos via City of Alexandria

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Morning Notes

T.C. Boys Advance in Tourney — “TC Varsity Vs Robinson regional quarterfinal take the win 49-47. Next round, Friday, 2/28 5:45 @ Fairfax HS.” [Twitter]

Donation to Support School Sensory Room — “Daniel MacDonald was just six-years old when he passed away in 2018, but thanks to a $10,000 donation from his family, he has left a legacy at Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School that will benefit other children.” [ACPS]

Award Winning Teacher Highlighted on TV — “See @TCWTitans teacher Kimberly Wilson on @ABC7News! This year she was named National Teacher of the Year by the Association for Career and Technical Education.” [WJLA, Twitter]

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A literal last-second shot helped T.C. Williams claim a boys basketball division title for the first time in more than decade.

The buzzer beater came Friday night as T.C. was tied 42-42 with West Potomac. Star senior TJ Horton received a quick pass and launched a shot from near the three-point line with just a second to go to clinch the win.

Fans stormed the court as T.C. captured its first Gunston District championship in more than 10 years.

More on the moment from social media:

The boys are not the only T.C. team seeking playoff glory this season. The girls basketball team will be hosting a first round game against Fairfax High School in the regional tournament tonight.

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Morning Notes

APD Launches Safety Campaign for Officers — “Commuters often hear about the importance of safety on the road, but a new police program in Alexandria, Virginia, seeks to help officers keep themselves out of harm’s way on the road. Through its newly-launched, 12-month ‘Safety First — Every Shift, Every Call’ campaign, Alexandria police will provide officers with monthly safety tips throughout 2020 on topics like safe driving tactics, traffic stops and driving while fatigued.” [WTOP]

Drug Take-Back Day Coming Soon — “Alexandria encourages residents to safely dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medications, including those prescribed by veterinarians, during National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. A special collection will take place on January 25, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., although medications may also be taken year-round to one of the permanent drop box locations.” [City of Alexandria]

High School Basketball Team Eyes Playoffs — “Last year, the St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes boys’ varsity basketball team won the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association state tournament for the first time since 1990. This year, they’re going for a repeat.” [Alexandria Times]

Al’s Donating in Honor of Anniversary — “Al’s Steak House, 1504 Mount Vernon Avenue, is celebrating 65 years as the ‘King of Cheesesteaks’ by giving back. To celebrate the milestone, Al’s is donating 65 cents for every sub sold during the month of January to Community Lodgings.” [Zebra]

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