March 29, 2017

Kawhi Leonard’s passion for Earl Lloyd documentary comes through loud and clear




Popcorn was available, of course, as were beverages. Family and friends in the private room were excited to watch the film during some rare down time on 2017 NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans. San Antonio Spurs All-Star Kawhi Leonard was hosting the viewing of the documentary that he co-executive-produced, The First to Do It, about black basketball pioneer Earl Lloyd.


“The guy was like 22 years old when he was the first African-American basketball player,” Leonard told The Undefeated. “He was a guy who paved the way for us on and off the court. He was loved by fans and other races while he’s playing, then walks off the court and gets treated a different way just because he didn’t have the same skin color. I learned from his experiences and take them into my everyday life.”


“About two or three years ago I wanted to check out who was the first African-American basketball player,” Leonard said. “I just searched it on the internet and I came up with Earl Lloyd. I didn’t want to read too much on him. I just wanted to figure out the answer. Two years later, I hear from people that are going to do this documentary. …


“[The Lloyd] story was very informative. It just makes you love your job even more just the way society is today.”



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