On Oct. 31, 1950, Earl Lloyd took the court as a member of the now-long-defunct Washington Capitols basketball team for a game against the Rochester Royals in New York. Lloyd’s six points and 10 rebounds were no game-changer, but his performance definitely was in another sense: It was the first time that an African American player appeared in a National Basketball Association game.
Struggling to break the color barrier in the Professional Golfers Association five decades ago, Charlie Sifford got a tip from Jackie Robinson, who had done the same thing for Major League Baseball. "You can’t be going after these people who call you names with a golf club,” Robinson told him. “If you do that, you’ll ruin it for all of the black players to come.”
During World War II, major league baseball stars who were called up to serve in the military often got relatively cushy assignments, working as physical education trainers or playing in exhibition games to entertain their fellow troops. But not pitcher Lou Brissie, at the time a promising prospect coveted by the Philadelphia Athletics' Connie Mack.
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