Basketball Hall of Famer Earl Lloyd, the NBA's first African-American player, suffered several health scares over the past two years that nearly took his life, he told Yahoo Sports.
Lloyd, 85, was in the hospital with a bleeding ulcer in the spring of 2012 when he suffered a stroke. He suffered a second stroke in April of this year and had a pacemaker replaced in August.
"There are not a lot of aftereffects, but it will never be the same," Lloyd said.
Charlita Lloyd said her husband "felt like a new person" after his pacemaker was replaced. Earl Lloyd has recovered from all the health issues, but has lost significant weight. Being in good shape and never indulging in alcohol or drugs helped Lloyd's recovery, his wife said.
"It was a miracle for him to survive," Charlita Lloyd said. "To see it happen was horrible. It's been a challenge the last two years, but Earl is a positive person. The glass is always half full for him. He's never sad. Never drooping."
A doctor told Lloyd he can no longer drive. Lloyd still plans to attend the unveiling of a life-sized statue in his honor at his alma mater West Virginia State in February. A close friend of Lloyd's will drive him and his wife the six hours from his residence in Crossville, Tenn.
Lloyd became the first African-American to play in an NBA game on Oct. 31, 1950, in Rochester, N.Y., as a rookie for the Washington Capitols. He played in the NBA from 1950-60 with the Capitols, Syracuse Nationals and Detroit Pistons. The 6-foot-8 forward won an NBA championship in 1955 with Syracuse.
"Tell everyone not to worry," Lloyd said.