comscore Women’s basketball pioneer Lusia Harris dies at 66 | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Sports Breaking | Top News

Women’s basketball pioneer Lusia Harris dies at 66

  • THE DELTA DEMOCRAT-TIMES VIA AP
                                Lusia Harris Stewart shows off some of her medals and awards from her basketball career in her home in Greenwood, Miss, in 2002.

    THE DELTA DEMOCRAT-TIMES VIA AP

    Lusia Harris Stewart shows off some of her medals and awards from her basketball career in her home in Greenwood, Miss, in 2002.

Lusia Harris, who was the only woman to be drafted by an NBA team and scored the first points in women’s basketball history at the Olympics, died today, her family announced. 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,” the family said in a statement. “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, who died in her native Mississippi, was officially drafted by the New Orleans Jazz in the seventh round in 1977, but didn’t try out for the team because she was pregnant at the time.

She helped Delta State University win three straight national titles in the 1970s and earned a silver medal for the United States at the Montreal Olympics in 1976.

Harris was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992 as the first Black woman to earn that honor. She was later enshrined into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.

“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.

Harris averaged 25.9 points and 14.4 rebounds at Delta State, lifting the team to a 109-6 record during her time there. She’s still the school’s all-time leader in scoring (2,981 points) and rebounding (1,662).

Harris was named to the U.S. women’s team in 1975. The following year, women’s basketball made its Olympic debut and Harris scored the first points in the first game of the tournament.

She was the subject of a 2021 short film titled “The Queen of Basketball” that detailed her career.

Comments (0)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up