Documentary On NBA's First Black Player Is Coming To Theaters
Titled The First to Do It, the documentary will focus on Earl Lloyd, the first African American to play in the NBA.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film will tell Lloyd’s story from growing up in segregated Alexandria, Virginia, to ultimately becoming the first black athlete to play in the NBA. The film will also bring together current NBA players including Carmelo Anthony, Kawhi Leonard, and Chris Paul as well as Hall of Famers Oscar Robertson, Dave Bing, and Bob Lanier, to discuss the birth of basketball and how the sport has changed since then.
“The story of Earl Lloyd is an important part of the history of professional basketball in the U.S. His achievements and the times in which he lived provide important lessons for players and fans today,” Sherrie Deans, Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association Foundation, said. “Our support of this film reflects our commitment to preserving the legacy of our players and our game and the positive impacts that both have had on our society.”
“Being from my generation, it never occurred to me that people like me couldn’t play this game,” Leonard, who also serves as an executive producer for the film alongside Anthony and Tony Parker, said. “That’s why it was so important for me to share this history with the younger generations that are coming behind me. We need to understand where we came from.”
The First To Do It will premiere at this year’s Hamptons International Film Festival and is set for a theatrical release in February of next year. Lloyd passed away at the age of 86 on February 26, 2015.