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Who was Lusia Harris, stats and how did she get into the NBA Draft?

In the early hours of Wednesday morning we heard the sad news from Lusia Harris' family that the NBA star had passed away at the age of just 66.

Who was Lusia Harris, stats and how did she get into the NBA Draft?
ABC Photo ArchivesWalt Disney Television via Getty

On Wednesday morning we found out the news that Lusia Harris, normally called Lucy, had died at the age of 66. Harris was known affectionately by many in her home state and across the United States as ‘The Queen of Basketball’, having become the only woman ever to be officially drafted by an NBA team. No cause of death has yet been provided.

NBA star Lusia Harris dies

Her family announced the news in a heartfelt statement.

“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.”

How did Lusia Harris get into the NBA?

At high school, Harris was already shining on the court, no doubt having to make her stance as the second youngest in a family of 11 children providing a useful boost. After that she went on to Delta State, where she won three consecutive national championships and was a three-time MVP.

She led the women’s US national team to a gold medal at the Pan American Games in 1975 and a silver the next year at the Montreal Olympic Games. That was the first Olympics to have a women's basketball tournament.

With all eyes on her, the NBA's New Orleans Jazz took her in the seventh round of the draft in 1977 but as it turned out she never actually played in the league, being pregnant at the time and instead choosing to focus on raising a family. She was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.

NBA news:

What were Lusia Harris’ statistics?

With an average at Delta State of 25.9 points and 14.4 rebounds her period there helped the team to a stunning 109-6 record. It’s maybe unsurprising therefore that she remains the school’s all-time leader in both scoring (2,981 points) and rebounding (1,662).

If you are interested in finding out more about her incredible life story, it was chronicled in a critically-acclaimed documentary last year entitled "The Queen of Basketball." When Harris found out about the idea, she gave her thoughts to Good Morning America:

"When I got the call and they said they wanted to do this documentary, I was really kind of surprised. That was just unreal."

RIP Lusia Harris.


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