View Full Version : My Doc about the 1st African American to play in the NBA

11-20-2014, 06:00 PM
So I am a long time poster on the Cubs forum and a few others. I have lost track of how many valuable hours I have spent posting on here. Outside of these boards, believe it or not, I am a TV and film producer. My current project is a documentary about Earl Lloyd, the first African American to ever play in the NBA. Earl played his first NBA game in 1950...three years after Jackie Robinson. He went on to become the first African American to ever become a full time head coach in the NBA and the first African American to ever get an equipment sponsorship in the NBA. He was also the first African American to win an NBA title.

The most amazing thing about Earl is that he is still alive, and we will get to hear much of his story from himself.

The directors who are making this film, Coodie and Chike, directed the basketball documentary Benji. It aired on ESPN's 30 for 30 a few years ago. It's available on Netflix. They also directe music videos for guys like Pitbull and Kanye West and Erykah Badu. The executive producers have multiple academy and Emmy award nominations to their names.

We just launched a crowd funded campaign for the film. We're trying to raise some money, trying to get the word out, and trying to spark a conversation around the issues raised in the film. Funding for these types of films is really hard to come by (which is why you don't see many of them), and we feel very strongly in the idea that no one person should finance the entire budget of this film because no one network or advertiser should have complete control over how the story of someone like Earl Lloyd gets told. The money we raise will help us shoot other NBA legends who can help tell the story - guys like Bill Russell, Elgin Baylor and Oscar Robertson. We want to get as many people involved as we can.

Check out the link below for more info. We're hoping the film comes out late spring.


11-24-2014, 04:58 PM
We got a nice writeup in Slam Magazine today to talk about the fact that Mike Finley and Tony Parker have come on board as executive producers.

Article (http://www.slamonline.com/media/slam-tv/earl-lloyd-movie-trailer/) below.

Before Bill Russell, Moses Malone, Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan there was Earl Lloyd.


On October 31, 1950 the NBA changed forever, when Earl “The Big Cat” Lloyd stepped foot on a basketball court dressed for the Washington Capitals to face the Rochester Royals. Lloyd was the first African-American to ever play in the NBA. One day after Lloyd became the first black player to play in the NBA, Chuck Cooper of the Boston Celtics followed in his footsteps, and Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton of the New York Knicks appeared four days later, too.

The untold story of Earl Lloyd, the first African American to play in the NBA, is set to premiere in the spring of 2015. The First to Do it: The Life and Times of Earl Lloyd, the first African-American in the NBA is a project by directors Coodie and Chike out of Chicago. The pair previously directed Kanye West’s “Through the Wire” music video and also recently directed the ESPN “30 for 30″ feature on Ben “Benji” Wilson, a gifted basketball player out of Chicago whose life was cut short due to violence.

“When we’re able to tell this story of Earl Lloyd, kids will understand that this is bigger then basketball. The barriers that he broke, what he endured during that time period and understanding what he represented as an African-American” say the directors. “Segregation, immigration, riots and more these are experiences that Earl lived through. He can share this with the nation to expose our culture to other cultures and even get a better understanding of our own culture.”

In light of the Donald Sterling fiasco, this movie is releasing right on time. 80 percent of the NBA’s players are African-Americans, and the directors are hoping for this documentary to be a positive film revolving around black history in the NBA.

Two of the films biggest backers are former San Antonio Spurs swingman Michael Finley and current Spurs PG Tony Parker. They both have donated a large portion of money to fund this project along with signed jerseys, shoes and more as a reward for fans who donate. “I care about the NBA, the game and it’s whole history. Im a big fan of 30 for 30 features and all documentaries. I was surprised no one has already told Earl’s story,” Parker says. “I think he has a great story and when he entered the NBA it changed forever. I loved Benji’s 30 for 30 and I love the way Coodie and Chike told Benji’s story so I was completely comfortable investing in this project…I just want people to know this man existed and he did amazing things. He fought and worked hard for all us and I want kids to know that the rode Earl took can be the same for them.”

Finley, who was also involved with Lee Daniels’ “The Butler,” says he only invests in stories he wants to see shared with the world. “The Earl Lloyd story fits perfect in that,” Finley says.

Earl Lloyd isn’t just a retired basketball player, he paved the way for African-Americans to join the NBA. He’s a pioneer of the game that we love today. We wouldn’t be watching the Kevin Durants, Derrick Roses or Damian Lillards if it wasn’t for this man. Lloyd is currently the only surviving member of his 1950 NBA Draft class, and in 2003 Lloyd was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The film is set to release in New York during NBA All-Star weekend 2015. To donate and learn more about Earl Lloyd visit the project’s website here (http://www.slamonline.com/media/slam-tv/earl-lloyd-movie-trailer/).

11-24-2014, 09:42 PM
That's really cool man. Good luck to you and the entire project.

11-24-2014, 10:31 PM
That's really cool man. Good luck to you and the entire project.

Thanks boss!

11-24-2014, 10:34 PM
Sounds awesome. Look forward to seeing the film. A shame how things once were.

11-24-2014, 11:18 PM

11-25-2014, 12:11 AM
Sounds awesome. Look forward to seeing the film. A shame how things once were.

Scary thing is, even though a lot has changed, some things haven't. As we've been doing research for the film, we've talked to a number of current NBA players. Earl Lloyd's story about how basketball was his ticket out is not that different from many current NBA players. Fact is, hoop dreams are still a legit ticket out of the inner city. As legitimate a ticket out now, as it was in 1940. And THAT is a shame.

11-25-2014, 10:16 AM
Sounds very cool. Good luck.

But was he born in Africa?