Lusia Harris, a three-time national champion at Delta State, Olympian and trailblazer in women’s basketball history, has died at age 66.

According to ESPN, a cause of death was not given by his family.

Harris was the first black woman inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992. She was also drafted by the NBA’s New Orleans Jazz in 1977, making her the first and only woman to be officially drafted by a team. of the NBA.

Harris didn’t try out for the Jazz because she was pregnant, but she briefly played in the Women’s Professional Basketball League in 1979-80.

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A native of Minter City, Mississippi, Harris put Delta State on the women’s basketball map by helping the university win national titles in 1975, 1976 and 1977 during the sport’s AIAW era.

“We are deeply saddened to share the news that our angel, matriarch, sister, mother, grandmother, Olympic medalist, basketball queen, Lusia Harris passed away unexpectedly today in Mississippi,” said Harris’ family in a statement, according to ESPN. “The past few months have brought great joy to Ms Harris, including the announcement of her youngest son’s upcoming wedding and the outpouring of recognition received by a recent documentary which brought her story to worldwide attention.

“She will be remembered for her charity, for her accomplishments on and off the court, and for the light she brought to her community, the state of Mississippi, her country as the first woman to score a basket at the Olympics, and to women who play basketball around the world,” the statement continued.

Internationally, Harris became the first woman to score a field goal at the Olympics and helped the United States win the silver medal at the 1976 Games.

Harris was also the subject of a short documentary titled The queen of basketball, which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival and was recently shortlisted for the Oscars. In the film, she talks openly about mental health issues as an adult, a condition that would be diagnosed as bipolar disorder.

Deadline reports the family said details of a memorial service will be announced soon.


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