A documentary on the NBA's first black player is set for release by Constant Beta Motion Picture Company, Creative Control, and Abramorama.
The First To Do It, a produced in association with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), that examines the life and times of Earl Lloyd, the first Black American to play in the NBA.
The documentary recounts Earl’s journey, from growing up in deeply segregated Alexandria, Virginia, to witnessing the first black President of the United States. The film also tells the story of how the modern game was formed, from the fall from dominance of the Harlem Globetrotters to the introduction of the 24-second clock. Finally, through the voices of current NBA stars, the film examines the legacy of desegregation in America, and the ongoing role basketball has played in America’s inner cities. This is official documentary is made in full cooperation with Lloyd's family.
Current NBA players including Carmelo Anthony, Kawhi Leonard and Chris Paul, as well as Hall of Fame players like Oscar Robertson, Dave Bing and Bob Lanier will celebrate and examine the moments that created the league and country we know today. Deon Cole will voice Lloyd.
“The story of Earl Lloyd is an important part of the history of professional basketball in the US. His achievements and the times in which he lived provide important lessons for players and fans today. 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,” said Sherrie Deans, Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association Foundation.
“Given the current political climate, The First To Do It is a welcome contribution to this essential dialog. And Oscar Robertson, too? It’s almost too much at once… We are eager to help get this excellent, significant film in front of audiences young and old. Earl Lloyd is a role model for our times," said Richard Abramowitz.
“Being from my generation, it never occurred to me that people like me couldn’t play this game. 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,” San Antonio Spurs player said Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs.
Set for release in February, it premieres tomorrow at The Hamptons International Film Festival.