Basketball Pioneer Earl Lloyd Statue Unveiled

Press Release

Photograph Gallery

Charleston, WV (March 7, 2014) – The first African-American to play in the NBA was honored on February 28th as part of Black History Month with a monumental-sized bronze statue, a custom-designed granite base, and illustrative wall graphics at West Virginia State University. The artwork was created by renowned master sculptor Brian Hanlon, the Official Sculptor for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and generously donated by basketball ambassador and former Harlem Globetrotters Owner & Chairman Mannie Jackson.

“I am honored to be a part of this great day celebrating Earl Lloyd and his profound impact on breaking the color barrier in the NBA” said Hanlon. “Earl is a true basketball pioneer and I hope this monument inspires and educates visitors on his importance to the game of basketball .”

With hundreds of family and friends in attendance including Hall of Famer’s Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain’s nephew Olin Chamberlain, and Philadelphia broadcasting legend Sonny Hill, Earl Francis Lloyd proudly unveiled the monument celebrating his basketball legacy. Earl’s accomplishments include:

  • First African-American to play in an NBA game: October 31, 1950 with the Washington Capitols
  • First African-American to win an NBA Championship: 1955 Syracuse Nationals
  • First African-American Assistant Coach in the NBA: 1968 Detroit Pistons
  • Second African-American Head Coach & first bench coach in the NBA: 1971 Detroit Pistons
  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame: Class of 2003

This meaningful tribute to recognize WVSU’s greatest alum is the result of the fierce determination of Head MBB Coach Bryan Poore, Athletic Director Sean Loyd, and President Dr. Brian O. Hemphill.

“It’s an easy [recruiting] job for me when I can point to a young man who walked these footsteps [on] this campus the way Earl Lloyd walked this campus,” Poore said.

About Hanlon Sculpture Studio
Brian Hanlon is a classically-trained master sculptor and founder of Hanlon Sculpture Studio; a full-service art studio that designs, creates, and installs bronze sculptures, granite monuments, and illustrative graphics. With over 300 public and private art commissions, Hanlon is a world-renowned artist from Toms River, NJ and is the Official Sculptor for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Twitter: @HanlonSculpture
Facebook: www.facebook.com/HanlonSculptureStudio
Instagram: www.instagram.com/HanlonSculpture

Additional Media Coverage
NBA
The Detroit News
The Charleston Gazette