By Emre Asikci
ISTANBUL (AA) - Lusia Harris, the only woman to be drafted by an NBA team, passed away Tuesday, 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 NBA quoted her family as saying in a statement.
Harris, who died in her native Mississippi, was drafted by the New Orleans Jazz in the seventh round in 1977, but did not try out for the team because she was pregnant at the time.
The 1976 Olympic silver medalist became the first Black woman inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992. She later entered 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.
She was the subject of a 2021 short film, The Queen of Basketball, that detailed her career.