Black sports history fact #1

The month of February is the month designated to recognize African-Americans and the accomplishments made early in United States history. Clearly, since slavery there’s been a lot of growth within the African-American community. Blacks aren’t only beneficial to this country’s foundation, but have also changed the landscape of almost every sport.

Today’s fact will be about basketball.

The very first basketball game was played in Trenton, New Jersey in 1896. However, it took over 50 years for the first African-American to play professionally. In 1951, Sweetwater Clifton, who played for the Harlem Globetrotters became the first black man to sign an NBA contract. He signed with the New York Knicks. Chuck Cooper was the first drafted by an NBA team, the Celtics, and Earl Lloyd became the first to play in the NBA, playing with the Washington Capitals. He played one day before the other two players, which technically makes him the first.

Until this time and even afterwards, the Harlem Globetrotters were the main outlet for African-Americans athletes to play this sport for money due to continued segregation in the sport.

Addam M. Francisco

Founder & Editor-in-Chief. National Association of Black Journalists. University of Central Oklahoma.

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