A little late, but who says we only have to celebrate Black history in February, history can be discussed any time. Better late than never right? Black history month acknowledges members and supporters of the black community for their accomplishments and contributions to the world that have opened doors, paved the way, set the tone, and helped many people today. Many moments in black history were firsts. In our history, many black accomplishments have been first because the adversity and barriers many black people faced did not allow the masses to accomplish a lot. However, thanks to sheer will, determination, and hard work there were people who were able to break those barriers and do what no other had ever done.
Among those people, were the first African-Americans in the NBA those of whom were Earl Lloyd, Chuck Cooper, and Nat Clifton. These players paved the way for today’s players in what is now a predominantly black league. In the 1950-1951 NBA season, Chuck Cooper was the first black player drafted by an NBA team when the Boston Celtics selected him. Nat Clifton was the first to sign an NBA contract after signing with the New York Knicks, and Earl Lloyd was the first black player to play in an NBA game as his team, the Washington Capitols, had their opening game one day before the others.
I bring up firsts not only to pay homage to these pioneers, but to show the importance of being the first to do something. Being first is a historic achievement for those who do it, but it is also more than that. Being the first to achieve something shows others like you or even those who are not, that what you have done is possible and that is possible for anyone. Do not hold yourself back from your goals or dreams because of adversity, doubt, or fear. Just because you may not have seen it done before or someone like you do it before does not mean it cannot be done. You just might be the first.