Documentary about the NBA’s first African-American player to hit theaters next year
The film follows the history-making career of Earl Lloyd.
Earl Lloyd made history in the 1950s, becoming the first African-American professional basketball player to play in the NBA.
As reported, his story will now be told in the form of a documentary film, which has officially secured distribution and will see a release on the big screen in February 2018.
Lloyd, who passed away in 2015 at 86, played in the NBA for the first time as part of the Washington Capitols on October 31, 1950, becoming the first man of color to ever play in the league.
After playing seven games for the Capitols (before the team folded at the top of 1951), Lloyd went on to serve in the army before returning to the court. He spent six seasons with the Syracuse Nationals and two with the Detroit Pistons before retiring in 1961.
Lloyd went on to become the first African-American assistant coach (1968-70) and the second African-American head coach (1971-72) before working as a talent scout and later as a job placement administrator for the Detroit Public School system.
The documentary, titled First to Do It, follows Lloyd’s journey from his childhood growing up in a deeply segregated Alexandria, Virginia, to witnessing the first Black U.S. president become elected, all while showcasing how basketball has evolved over the years and has played an important role throughout history.
The film also is narrated by a handful of NBA stars past and present, including Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dave Bing, Kawhi Leonard, Bob Lanier and Oscar Robertson, and was made in full cooperation with the late basketball player’s family.
“The story of Earl Lloyd is an important part of the history of professional basketball in the U.S.,” Sherrie Deans, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association Foundation, told the Hollywood Reporter. “His achievements and the times in which he lived provide important lessons for players and fans today. Our support of this film reflects our commitment to preserving the legacy of our players and our game, and the positive impacts that both have had on our society.”
First to Do It is slated to make its world premiere at the Hamptons International Film Festival next year and will see a theatrical release in February.