Lusia Harris, a pioneer of women’s basketball who was the only woman ever to be officially drafted by an NBA team, has died, according to an announcement by her family.
“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 Associated Press reported the family saying in a statement.
Harris attended Delta State University, where she led her team to three consecutive Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women national championships from 1975-1977, CNN reported.
Harris was drafted by the New Orleans Jazz in the seventh round of 1977, but didn’t try out for the team because she was pregnant at the time, NBA.com reported. She was the first Black woman inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992, and enshrined into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.
Women’s basketball debuted during the 1976 Olympics, and Harris scored the first basket of the competition against Japan in the Montreal Games, ESPN reported. She came away from the Olympics with a silver medal, NBA.com reported.
Harris was most recently featured in a short film titled “The Queen of Basketball,” which was released in 2021 and detailed her career, ESPN reported.
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