Lusia Harris died Tuesday, according to her family, after being the first woman to be officially drafted by an NBA franchise and scoring the first points in women’s basketball history at the Olympics. She was 66 years old at the time.
“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 to the league office. “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 hometown of Mississippi, was taken in the seventh round by the New Orleans Jazz in 1977, but she didn’t play due to being pregnant.
She was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992 and was the first Black woman to be inducted. She would also be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999. During her basketball career, Harris led Delta State University to three national titles in the 1970s. She averaged 25.9 points, 14.4 rebounds and had a 109-6 record during her tenure She also won the silver medal representing the United States in the Olympics.