Lusia Harris, only NBA drafted player, dies at age 66 in Mississippi


American basketball is in mourning. Lusia Harris, the only woman to be officially drafted into the North American men’s NBA league, died Tuesday in her home state of Mississippi at the age of 66, her family announced.

« We are deeply saddened to announce that our Angel, Matriarch, Sister, Mother, Grandmother, Olympic Medalist, Queen of Basketball, Lusia Harris passed away unexpectedly today in Mississippi.“, the statement said, without giving details regarding the cause of death.


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Lusia Harris, who was recently the subject of a documentary chronicling her unique journey, is best known for having been selected by the Jazz franchise, which then played in New Orleans in 1977. Before her, Denise Long had also was drafted by a male team, the San Francisco Warriors, in 1969. But the league had canceled his selection.

Silver medalist at the 76 Olympics with the American women’s team

From then on Lusia Harris officially remained as the first and only woman to date to experience this fate. But she never showed up for the Jazz training camp and never played for that team, because she was pregnant at the time. A year earlier in 1976, the pivot, selected in the United States team, had distinguished herself by scoring the very first points of the first Olympic women’s basketball tournament in history. She and her teammates left Montreal with a silver medal.

Winner of three American university titles with Delta State, Lusia Harris then played very briefly in the Professional Women’s Basketball League in 1979-1980.


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