Earl Lloyd (11) of the Syracuse Nationals reaches for a rebound during a National Basketball Association game against the Fort Wayne Pistons in 1955. (Anonymous/AP)

   

 
 

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  Detroit honors life and legacy of NBA’s first African-American player, Earl Lloyd, at the DIA

The Lloyd Family Foundation Launches National Literacy Tour & Showcases New Documentary Film

DETROIT - Detroiters will honor the life and legacy of the National Basketball League’s (NBA) first African-American player and former Detroit Piston Earl F. Lloyd on Feb. 22-23. The event serves as the launch of the Lloyd Family Foundation's educational tour, scholarship program, reception, and exclusive screening of “The First To Do It” documentary.

“We are so honored to be able to partner with the organizations that entrusted my father with fulfilling their mission,” says Kenny Lloyd, eldest son of Earl F. Lloyd. “Detroit has been a pivotal part of my father’s life and is only fitting for us to showcase the film highlighting his legacy. We’re looking forward to making history during Black History Month.”

On Wednesday, Feb. 22, the celebration kicks off with the Honor The Legacy VIP Reception with area dignitaries, business and community leaders in attendance to pay tribute to Earl Lloyd. Guests will enjoy culinary creations, libations, and following the reception, will preview “The First To Do It" documentary. After the film, there will be a dynamic post-movie talkback introduced by producer Arka Sengupta and featuring directors Coodie Simmons and Chike Ozah, alongside former Detroit Mayor and NBA legend Dave Bing and Detroit Pistons legend Ray Scott.

The film is more than a documentary about basketball history, as it chronicles Lloyd’s story during a tumultuous time in U.S. history, from his childhood in segregated Virginia and the racism he faced during his time in the NBA, to his post-basketball career as a job placement administrator with Detroit Public Schools and a program he set up teaching job skills to underprivileged children. As part of the Detroit Institute of Art’s Black History Month programming, a limited number of free screening passes can be reserved at the DIA Box Office or by clicking HERE.

In partnership with the Detroit Federation of Teachers and Detroit Public Schools Community District Board, students at the Paul Robeson Malcolm X Academy will participate in a children’s book reading on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 9 a.m. Students will read to by retired NBA players, community leaders, and Fiat Chrysler employees. Students will receive a copy of The Earl Lloyd Story book, and books will be donated to local elementary schools provided by Fiat Chrysler and Fiat Chrysler African American Network (FCAAN), the official sponsor of this national literacy book tour. The book explores the life lessons learned by Earl F. Lloyd both on and off the court, and the incredible legacy of America’s first African American basketball player in the NBA.

The programs and events are supported by the following organizations: Constant Beta Motion Picture Company, Creative Control Branding and Entertainment Group, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Pistons, Earl F. Lloyd Foundation, Fiat Chrysler, FCAAN, Jack Daniel’s, Lloyd Family Foundation, MGM Grand Detroit, and the National Basketball Retired Players Association.


About the Lloyd Family Foundation
The legendary Earl F. Lloyd was an honorary Detroiter and the first of many African Americans to play in the NBA. Lloyd was also the first African–American assistant coach (1968-70) and first full-time African-American head coach (1971-72). Lloyd also worked with the Detroit Pistons as a scout for five seasons. After his basketball career, Lloyd worked during the 1970s and 1980s at Chrysler Corporation as the first African American executive and as a job placement administrator for the Detroit public school system. He also served as Community Relations Director for the Bing Group, a Detroit manufacturing company in the 1990s. He retired in 1999 and moved to Tennessee with his wife. In 2003, Lloyd was inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

About the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA)
The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first Van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self-Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera's world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA’s collection is known for its quality, range and depth. The DIA’s mission is to create opportunities for all visitors to find personal meaning in art.

Programs are made possible with support from residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

 

 


 

 

 
   
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