Honor today for pioneering Lloyd

PUT IT UP: Cavaliers forward Antawn Jamison takes a shot over Philadelphia’s Nikola Vucevic during the 76ers’ victory.

Associated Press

PUT IT UP: Cavaliers forward Antawn Jamison takes a shot over Philadelphia’s Nikola Vucevic during the 76ers’ victory.

ATLANTA — Earl Lloyd remembers when he suited up for the Washington Capitols more than 60 years ago as the first black to play in an NBA game and wondering if he would make a good enough impression to stick around.

Lloyd and the Capitols lost the game. But he played well enough to earn a roster spot and break the color barrier in a league that had only three black players in 1950 and now features the highest percentage of African-American athletes in any of the major professional leagues.

"Before the game, I was terrified," recalled Lloyd, who had six points and 10 rebounds for the Capitols in a 78-70 loss to the Rochester Royals on Oct. 31, 1950. "I had a fear of disappointing the people who depended on me. Luckily, letting people down was not a part of my DNA.

"I'm glad I was part of something that helped pave the way for others."

Now, as part of Black History Month, the 83-year-old Hall of Famer will be honored for his breakthrough at halftime of today's Hawks-Miami Heat game. The former West Virginia State standout and six other African-Americans will be recognized at all Hawks home games this month.

"I'm blessed to still have my health," said Lloyd, who also became the Detroit Pistons first black coach in 1971. "I know that there are a lot of people who didn't make it to 61 years of age. So for me to be around this long and still get some recognition."

Since Lloyd made history, the NBA has increased its number of black players to 78 percent, according to the league's racial and gender report last year. About 83 percent of the players in the league are people of color.

These days, Lloyd said some of his favorite players to watch are LeBron James and Dwyane Wade of the Heat. He met James a couple years ago but hasn't met Wade.

"They might be too busy with the game to come and see me," he said with a chuckle. "I've met LeBron before but hopefully if Dwyane slows down for a moment and decides to give me a high-five, I'll be sure to return the favor."

Lloyd, who was drafted in the seventh round, was one of three blacks to play in the NBA in 1950. His debut was a couple of days before two other African-Americans who helped integrate the NBA — Chuck Cooper of the Celtics, the first black draftee; and Nat Clifton of the Knicks, the first to sign a league contract.

When Lloyd first appeared in an NBA game, he said he couldn't have imagined the league as it is today. He gives credit not only to himself, but also to Cooper and Clifton.

"The league has come a long way," he said. "I'm happy that Chuck, Nat and myself helped pave the way for others."

GAME HIGHLIGHTS: Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan all had double doubles after three quarters as the visiting Clippers routed the Bobcats, 111-86. Charlotte has lost a franchise-record 14 straight and, at 3-24, owns a .125 winning percentage. That equals the league's all-time worst team, the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers who finished 9-72. … Jrue Holliday had 20 points to lead six players in double figures as the visiting 76ers rolled to a 99-84 win over the short-handed Cavaliers. … Ty Lawson scored 27 to help the visiting Nuggets snap a five-game skid by beating the Pacers 113-109.

VAREJAO OUT: Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao, who is having the best season of his eight-year career, is out indefinitely with a broken right wrist. Varejao, who leads the league in offensive rebounds per game, was injured in the third quarter Friday against the Bucks.

Clippers 111, Bobcats 86

L.A. CLIPPERS (111): Butler 5-8 2-2 16, Griffin 7-14 7-8 21, Jordan 5-6 1-2 11, Paul 6-11 6-6 18, Foye 5-7 0-0 12, M.Williams 4-10 1-1 9, Evans 0-2 0-0 0, Martin 2-5 3-4 7, Gomes 1-5 0-0 2, Bledsoe 1-2 0-0 2, Cook 2-4 0-0 5, Thompkins 3-4 1-1 8, Leslie 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 41-78 21-24 111.

CHARLOTTE (86): Maggette 3-8 6-7 12, Diaw 3-10 0-0 7, Biyombo 1-2 1-2 3, Walker 4-13 11-12 19, R.Williams 1-12 0-0 2, Higgins 2-8 4-6 8, Diop 0-0 0-0 0, Brown 1-3 8-10 10, Thomas 5-6 1-2 11, Mullens 4-7 2-4 10, Carroll 1-3 0-0 2, White 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 26-74 33-43 86.

L.A. Clippers 24 31 29 27— 111

Charlotte 16 21 15 34— 86

3-Point GoalsL.A. Clippers 8-20 (Butler 4-7, Foye 2-4, Thompkins 1-1, Cook 1-3, Martin 0-1, M.Williams 0-1, Paul 0-1, Gomes 0-2), Charlotte 1-14 (Diaw 1-6, Walker 0-2, Maggette 0-2, R.Williams 0-4). ReboundsL.A. Clippers 53 (Jordan 12), Charlotte 45 (Maggette, Biyombo 6). AssistsL.A. Clippers 29 (Paul 14), Charlotte 18 (Walker 4). Total FoulsL.A. Clippers 28, Charlotte 20. TechnicalsJordan, Martin, L.A. Clippers defensive three second. A19,110 (19,077).

Nuggets 113, Pacers 109

DENVER (113): Brewer 8-16 2-4 19, Nene 5-9 1-4 11, Koufos 3-4 1-2 7, Lawson 10-17 5-7 27, Afflalo 8-11 6-6 23, Harrington 4-18 2-2 10, Miller 2-6 2-4 6, Faried 1-2 1-2 3, Fernandez 2-4 2-2 7. Totals 43-87 22-33 113.

INDIANA (109): Granger 10-18 4-5 26, West 10-11 2-3 22, Hibbert 5-11 2-2 12, Collison 3-7 1-1 7, George 5-9 1-2 15, Hansbrough 2-3 2-3 6, Stephenson 2-6 0-0 4, Price 4-8 3-3 13, Amundson 0-1 0-0 0, Jones 1-5 2-3 4. Totals 42-79 17-22 109.

Denver 26 34 27 26— 113

Indiana 35 25 24 25— 109

3-Point GoalsDenver 5-17 (Lawson 2-3, Fernandez 1-2, Brewer 1-3, Afflalo 1-3, Harrington 0-6), Indiana 8-22 (George 4-7, Price 2-4, Granger 2-6, Collison 0-1, Jones 0-2, Stephenson 0-2). ReboundsDenver 54 (Koufos 7), Indiana 43 (West 7). AssistsDenver 14 (Miller 4), Indiana 22 (Collison 7). Total FoulsDenver 22, Indiana 28. TechnicalsBrewer, Denver Coach Karl, Miller, Denver defensive three second, Indiana defensive three second. A15,313 (18,165).

76ers 99, Cavaliers 84

PHILADELPHIA (99): Iguodala 2-5 3-4 8, Allen 0-3 0-0 0, Brand 3-10 5-7 11, Holiday 6-13 7-8 20, Meeks 4-8 0-0 10, Young 7-11 2-2 16, Williams 6-14 5-7 19, Turner 2-7 1-2 5, Vucevic 5-8 0-0 10. Totals 35-79 23-30 99.

CLEVELAND (84): Casspi 2-9 1-2 6, Jamison 8-16 4-7 20, Erden 0-2 0-0 0, Sessions 8-15 2-2 19, Gibson 3-11 0-0 7, Samuels 3-8 0-0 6, Gee 4-8 9-10 17, Eyenga 0-3 1-2 1, Thompson 0-6 2-2 2, Hollins 1-1 0-0 2, Uzoh 1-3 0-0 2, Harangody 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 31-84 19-25 84.

Philadelphia 21 37 21 20— 99

Cleveland 19 22 19 24— 84

3-Point GoalsPhiladelphia 6-14 (Williams 2-3, Meeks 2-5, Iguodala 1-1, Holiday 1-3, Turner 0-2), Cleveland 3-14 (Sessions 1-2, Casspi 1-4, Gibson 1-5, Gee 0-1, Harangody 0-1, Jamison 0-1). ReboundsPhiladelphia 50 (Young, Iguodala 6), Cleveland 60 (Jamison, Thompson 8). AssistsPhiladelphia 21 (Holiday, Williams, Iguodala 5), Cleveland 19 (Sessions 8). Total FoulsPhiladelphia 16, Cleveland 19. A17,155 (20,562).

Spurs 103, Nets 89

SAN ANTONIO (103): Jefferson 3-5 0-0 7, Duncan 6-11 1-2 13, Blair 5-9 1-3 11, Parker 4-11 4-4 12, Green 4-8 0-0 10, Ginobili 4-7 0-0 8, Bonner 2-6 0-0 5, Leonard 1-2 2-2 5, Neal 8-10 0-0 18, Splitter 3-5 4-6 10, Anderson 2-5 0-0 4, Joseph 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 42-80 12-17 103.

NEW JERSEY (89): Brooks 2-10 2-3 7, Humphries 7-10 1-2 15, Petro 3-5 0-0 6, D.Williams 9-23 7-8 27, Morrow 5-11 0-0 11, She.Williams 0-1 0-0 0, Sha.Williams 1-9 0-0 3, Farmar 5-10 0-0 12, Gaines 3-6 0-0 6, J.Williams 0-2 2-2 2. Totals 35-87 12-15 89.

San Antonio 24 31 22 26— 103

New Jersey 22 18 19 30— 89

3-Point GoalsSan Antonio 7-22 (Green 2-4, Neal 2-4, Leonard 1-1, Jefferson 1-3, Bonner 1-4, Ginobili 0-2, Anderson 0-2, Parker 0-2), New Jersey 7-24 (Farmar 2-6, D.Williams 2-8, Brooks 1-3, Sha.Williams 1-3, Morrow 1-4). ReboundsSan Antonio 50 (Duncan 10), New Jersey 48 (Humphries 8). AssistsSan Antonio 25 (Duncan, Parker 5), New Jersey 19 (D.Williams 8). Total FoulsSan Antonio 17, New Jersey 12. A15,272 (18,711).

Honor today for pioneering Lloyd 02/11/12 [Last modified: Saturday, February 11, 2012 10:45pm]

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