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Wednesday, April 25, 2001
Cooper first African-American drafted in NBA

By Larry Schwartz
Special to

April 25, 1950

Duquesne's Chuck Cooper, a second-team All-American, becomes the first African-American drafted by an NBA team when he's selected in the second round by the Boston Celtics.

Other African-Americans selected in the draft are Virginia State's Earl Lloyd and North Carolina College's Harold Hunter (both by the Washington Caps) and Kentucky State's Ed Thompson (by the Fort Wayne Pistons).

The 6-foot-5 Cooper will average 6.7 points and 5.9 rebounds in his six-year NBA career, the first four with Red Auerbach's Celtics.

"There was none of the continual harassment that Jackie Robinson received," Cooper will say years later. "It was mostly just the humiliation of having to separate from the rest of the team in certain towns. Hotels and restaurants and taxis could be a problem."

Cooper will say that having Bob Cousy as a road roommate relieved some of his loneliness. "Cousy is about as free of the affliction of racism as any white person I've ever known."