NBA Draft

Lusia Harris, only woman officially drafted by NBA team, dies at 66

Former Delta State University center Lusia Harris, who died Tuesday, remains the school’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder. Photo by Delta State University Athletic Communications

Jan. 19 (UPI) — Lusia Harris, the only woman to ever be officially selected in an NBA Draft, died unexpectedly, her family said in a statement. She was 66.

Harris’ family said she died Tuesday in Mississippi. No cause of death was given.

“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 [Tuesday] in Mississippi,” the family said.

“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.”

The Minter City, Miss., native scored the first points in Olympic women’s basketball history in 1976. She won three-consecutive national titles in 1970s at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss.

The New Orleans Jazz selected Harris in the seventh round of the 1977 NBA Draft, at No. 137 overall. She never tied out for the team because she was pregnant at the time of her selection.

The 6-foot-3 center played in the Women’s Professional Basketball Association in 1979-80. In 1992, she became the first Black woman inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

She remains the top scorer (2,891) and rebounder (1,662) in Delta State history.

Former Delta State University center Lusia Harris, shown in the 1970s. The basketball player died on January 18 at age 66. Photo by Delta State University Athletic Communications

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