Remembering a pioneer in basketball, Lusia Harris

Harris is still the only woman to be drafted by an NBA team

Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival) (Getty Images)

Lusia Harris will forever be known as the answer to multiple noteworthy trivia questions when it comes to the game of basketball, as she was a pioneering figure for the sport.

Given that, it’s no wonder why the basketball world is mourning her passing on Tuesday at the age of 66.

Who was the first woman to score a point in a basketball game during the Olympics?

That was Harris, who netted the first points at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, the first time women’s basketball was an official medal sport.

Who was the only woman to be drafted by an NBA team?

Again, that was Harris, who was drafted in the seventh round of the 1977 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Jazz.

Harris never played in the NBA, but to this day, she remains the only woman to be drafted by an NBA team.

Of note, Denise Long Rife was drafted in the 13th round of the 1969 NBA Draft by the San Francisco Warriors, but that pick was later vetoed by league Commissioner Walter Kennedy on the grounds that the league didn’t draft women or players straight out of high school.

Who was the first Black woman to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame?

That also would be Harris, who was bestowed that honor in 1992.

All the accolades were well-deserved for Harris, who grew up in Mississippi and was an iconic player at Delta State, where she averaged 25.9 points and 14.5 rebounds in 115 career games played.

Harris was also the leading scorer and rebounder at the 1976 Olympics for the U.S., which won the silver medal.

The cause of Harris’ death has not been released.

Regardless, her impact is forever etched in the sport of basketball and will continue to live on.


About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.