The roots of the National Basketball Association can be found in the Basketball Association of America, which began operations in 1946. The BAA was a segregated league, however, and the NBA did not open its doors to African American players until 1950. Throughout the 1950s black players streamed into the league. Here are some of the milestones in the growth of opportunities for African Americans in the NBA.
April 25, 1950 - Chuck Cooper drafted by Boston Celtics in second round. Earl Lloyd drafted by Washington Capitols in ninth round.
April 26, 1950 - Harold Hunter signs a contract with the Washington Capitols, but is cut in training camp.
May 24, 1950 - Nat Clifton signs with New York Knicks.
October 31, 1950 - Earl Lloyd debuts with the Washington Capitols.
November 1, 1950 - Chuck Cooper debuts with Boston Celtics.
November 4, 1950 - Nat Clifton debuts with New York Knicks.
December 3, 1950 - Hank DeZonie signs with Tri-Cities Blackhawks.
January 13, 1953 - Don Barksdale (Boston Celtics) plays in the NBA All-Star Game.
April 10, 1955 - The Syracuse Nationals win the NBA championship with Jim Tucker and Earl Lloyd.
1958 - Bill Russell (Boston Celtics) is named League MVP.
December 26, 1964 - The Boston Celtics start five African American players.
November 15, 1966 - Bill Russell is named coach of the Boston Celtics (he is player-coach).
1972 - Wayne Embry is named General Manager of the Milwaukee Bucks.
January 10, 2003 - Robert Johnson is granted an NBA franchise, the Charlotte Bobcats.