Lusia ‘Lucy’ Harris, Trailblazing Basketball Hall Of Famer And Subject Of ‘The Queen Of Basketball’, Passed Away

The 66-year-old is also the only woman officially drafted by an NBA team.

Lusia Harris, a three-time national champion at Delta State, Olympian, and trailblazer in women’s basketball history, passed away at age 66.

According to ESPN, a cause of death was not given by her family.

Harris was the first Black woman inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992. She was also drafted by the NBA’s New Orleans Jazz in 1977, making her the first and only woman to be officially drafted by an NBA team.

Harris did not try out for the Jazz because she was pregnant but she did briefly play in the Women’s Professional Basketball League in 1979-80.

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A Minter City, Mississippi native, Harris put Delta State on the women’s basketball map as she helped lead the university to national titles in 1975, ‘76 and ‘77 during the AIAW era of the sport.

"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," Harris' family said in a statement, according to ESPN. "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 continues.

Internationally, Harris became the first female to score a basket in the Olympics and helped the United States win the silver medal in the 1976 games.

Harris was also the subject of a short documentary titled The Queen of Basketball, which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival and was recently shortlisted for the Oscars. In the film, she is open about experiencing mental health challenges at times as an adult, a condition that would be diagnosed as bipolar disorder.

Deadline reports the family said details of a memorial service will soon be announced.

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