In 1950 Chuck Cooper an All-American basketball player from Duquesne University (a private Catholic school in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania) was selected in the second round by the Boston Celtics.

Cooper thus became the first African-American to play in the professional National Basketball Association league.

After college, Cooper first signed onto the Harlem Globetrotters, but in April 1950, was drafted into the NBA when the Celtics chose him on the 14th overall pick.

Later in the draft, the Washington Capitols, a charter team in the Basketball Association of America (forerunner of the NBA), selected Earl Lloyd and Harold Hunter.