Did you know that Hall of Fame member and NBA pioneer Earl Lloyd was a long time employee of Converse, the company that once made basketball sneakers? That’s according to his son, Kevin Lloyd, who called me last night to chat and catch up.

Earl Lloyd

Earl Lloyd, a man on a roll!

I was reminded that the elder Lloyd was the first black player to wear Converse All Stars in an N.B.A. game. Considering the buzz around the recent ESPN documentary film Black Magic that features Lloyd, maybe Converse will consider re-signing the Hall of Famer for some promotional work or even to reissue an Earl Lloyd Converse retro. Why not? I think a lot of people would be down with that, don’t you?

If you recall, Kevin Lloyd is a baggage handler with Delta Airlines at Atlanta Hartsfield Airport. We met by chance one day a few years ago as I was checking my bag, and one thing led to another. And that’s how his father and I became acquainted.

Then it turns out that Kevin Lloyd went to college at Howard University with my wife. Such a small world. But yet, nothing happens by coincidence, does it?

Do you remember Remember The Titans? That movie was about the integration of the Alexandria, Virginia public school system in 1964. Recall that the all-black Parker-Gray High School was closed, and those kids matriculated into the previously all-white T. C. Williams High, causing drama and transformation on the varsity football team, the Titans, which is what the movie is about.

Well, Earl Lloyd attended Parker-Gray High School (Class of ’46). And last year, after T.C. Williams High School was rebuilt, its new gymnasium was named after Lloyd, a stirring gesture and tribute.

Speaking of tributes, did you know that the United States House of Representatives, concurrently with the United States Senate, passed a resolution last month honoring Earl Lloyd for his pioneering achievements? The vote was unanimous. Don’t you wish these politicians would get it together this easily on other issues that are equally as obvious?

Anyway, this man is on a roll, isn’t he?

Finally, Lloyd will be inducted into the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame on May 4, 2008. A great honor of course, but what took them so long? Didn’t they realize he was already enshrined in the Naismith Hall? When was the last time that happened? Isn’t it usually the other way around, with Springfield always seeming to lag behind?

Big ups to Earl Lloyd for making history now!

(Photo courtesy of MSG Network.)

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