(The AEGIS Alliance) – Lusia Harris, who so far has ended up being the only female athlete to be officially drafted into an NBA team and racked up the very first points in women’s Olympic basketball history, passed away on Tuesday, her family members revealed. She was 66.
“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,” her loved ones stated.
“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.”
Harris, that passed away in her home state of Mississippi had been drafted into the New Orleans Jazz during the 7th round in 1977, yet did not try out for the team due to the fact that she was actually expectant with a baby back then. In 1969 the San Francisco Warriors made an effort to draft Denise Long, yet the NBA obstructed it since she didn’t fulfill the requirements to be drafted, partly due to her gender.
USA Basketball mourns the loss of The Queen of Basketball, Lusia Harris.
Lusia was a 1976 Olympic silver medalist, scored the first points in Olympic women's basketball history & became the first Black woman inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992. pic.twitter.com/ISrRjIqM3x
— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) January 19, 2022
Harris assisted Delta State University in winning 3 national titles in a row during the 1970s and also achieved a silver medal for the U.S. during the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
In 1992, Harris became inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as the initial Black female to gain that honor. Later in 1999, she was honored into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
Lusia Harris — the first Black woman inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame — died Tuesday at age 66, her family announced. https://t.co/xYZXaAlVlw
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 19, 2022
“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 family’s statement wrote.
Harris averaged 25.9 points as well as 14.4 rebounds while playing for Delta State, elevating the team to a 109-6 record in the course of her time there. She remains the university’s enduring leader for scoring 2,981 points and 1,662 rebounds.
In 1975, Harris played in the United States women’s basketball team. The next year, women’s basketball had its Olympic launching and Harris racked up the very first points in the initial game during the competition.
She was the topic of a short movie in 2021 called “The Queen of Basketball” that described her profession.
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