Alvin was born and raised in Washington, DC and graduated from McKinley High School in 1945. His stellar high school athletic career started when, as a freshman, he placed second in the long jump in the D.C. Inter-high Track Championship. In the next two years he won first place both times. He also placed first in the 120 high hurdles and second in the 100-yard dash. Alvin led his senior-year basketball team to the D.C. Inter-high Championship and to a victory in the Star Tournament over private city schools. The D.C. coaches selected Alvin as co-captain of the Coaches All-High First Team. Alvin also played wide receiver on the McKinley’s football team.
As a result of Alvin’s track accomplishments he was offered a track scholarship to Notre Dame University by the famed coach, Doc Handy. Instead, Alvin enlisted in the Navy and was stationed in the Philippines where he played second base on the baseball team and guard on the basketball team. Following his time in the Navy, Alvin was a walk-on for the University of Maryland basketball team. He played three years and was starting point guard in 1947. Alvin was elected to the Washington D.C. Jocks Hall of Fame for D.C. athletes from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s.