Two of the most important blows to the color barrier in sports have prompted major motion pictures:
- Jackie Robinson's historic 1947 debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers of Major League Baseball was captured in the 2013 film 42.
- Don Haskins, whose Texas Western team comprised of five black starters beat all-white Kentucky in the 1966 NCAA men's basketball championship, had his story retold in the 2006 drama Glory Road.
In keeping with Rochester's humility, its own contributions to breaking the color barrier in sports are generally little known and uncommonly discussed. Yet here are the facts:
- In 1946, the Rochester Royals of the National Basketball League, which would later merge with the Basketball Association of America to form the National Basketball Association (NBA), became one of the first teams to sign an African-American player, William "Dolly" King.
- In 1950, Earl Lloyd of the Washington Capitols became the first African American to play in the NBA. That uneventful event took place in...Rochester. As Leo Roth wrote in the Democrat & Chronicle, Rochester may have been the perfect place for this integration to occur because:
- By the standards of the time, it was already integrated
- It had previously been through this process four years earlier, and
- In Lloyd's hilarious own words, it was too cold for the Ku Klux Klan.