Women's basketball trailblazer Lusia Harris dies suddenly aged 66

Credit: John G. Zimmerman, Tony Krausz

Women’s basketball trailblazer Lusia Harris dies suddenly aged 66.

LUSIA HARRIS, a women’s basketball trailblazer who is the only female to be drafted to the NBA, dies suddenly aged 66. Her family announced her death on Tuesday, January 18.
Ms Harris, probably most famous for being drafted by the New Orleans Jazz in the seventh round in 1977, also earned a silver medal for the United States at the Montreal Olympics in 1976.
Despite being drafted to the Jazz, she was unable to try out for the team because she was pregnant at the time, however, that did not stop her from cementing her legacy in the game and she was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992 as the first Black woman to earn that honour.
She was also later enshrined into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.
A family statement following Harris’ death read: “We are deeply saddened to share the news that our angel, matriarch, sister, mother, grandmother, Olympic medalist, The Queen of Basketball, Lusia Harris has passed away unexpectedly today in Mississippi.
“The recent months brought Ms Harris great joy, including the news of the upcoming wedding of her youngest son and the outpouring of recognition received by a recent documentary that brought worldwide attention to her story.”
“She will be remembered for her charity, for her achievements both on and off the court, and the light she brought to her community, the state of Mississippi, her country as the first woman ever to score a basket in the Olympics, and to women who play basketball around the world,” the statement said.
Fans, players and teams alike joined in paying tribute to the athlete.
The Players’ Tribute wrote: “Rest in peace, Lusia Harris.
“She was a trailblazer, Hall of Famer and the only woman officially drafted by an NBA team.”

A fan wrote: “DEVASTATED! We mourn the passing of a legend … our sister, Lusia Harris. Title IX, AIAW, Olympic, and WBL Trailblazer. Bring this generation out of the shadows!”

Another wrote: “I am saddened to hear of the death of Lusia Harris, the only woman drafted by the NBA, AIAW champion, and Olympic medalist. Her athletic accomplishments inspired so many women and her talent pushed people out of their limited understanding of women’s athletic prowess.”
One person said: “We lost a legend from our Women’s Basketball Royal Family today…R.I.P. Lucy Harris.”
Another added: “When I attended basketball camp at Washington & Jefferson College in mid-70s, they’d show us a film of all championships won that year: NCAA, NAIA, AIAW. That’s how I learned of Lusia Harris’ greatness at Delta State. So sad to hear of her passing. Hall of Famer. Legend. Too soon.”

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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]


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