Lusia Harris’ story just keeps getting better: she’s now won an Oscar.
And just like his longtime Los Angeles Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant did four years ago in another category, Shaquille O’Neal can also be said to be an Oscar winner.
‘The Queen of Basketball’ – with a pair of basketball legends in O’Neal and Stephen Curry among the 22-minute film’s executive producers and top promoters – won the Oscar for short documentary on Sunday.
It comes about two months after the death of Harris, who scored the first field goal in Olympic women’s basketball history and was the first woman officially drafted by an NBA team. Ben Proudfoot directed the short, which even educated some ardent basketball fans about the pioneer’s history.
“If there’s anyone who still doubts there is an audience for female athletes and wonders if their stories are valuable, entertaining or important…let this Oscar be the answer,” Proudfoot said during of the awards ceremony in Los Angeles.
Harris is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, as is O’Neal. But even the four-time NBA champion – widely considered one of the greatest in the history of the game – was unfamiliar with her story.
“I didn’t know who she was at first,” O’Neal said earlier this month.
But the film and O’Neal and Curry’s involvement – the Golden State star wore sneakers earlier this month emblazoned with the phrase ‘Queen Lucy’ on them – helped her story get told more and more. .
Harris helped Delta State University win three consecutive national championships in the 1970s and won a silver medal for the United States at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Harris was drafted by the New Orleans Jazz in the seventh round of the 1977 NBA Draft, but she was pregnant at the time and never tried to make the team.
His family was at the awards ceremony on Sunday.
Proudfoot also used the Oscar-winning moment to call President Joe Biden and urge him to secure the release of two-time Olympic gold medalist and top women’s player Brittney Griner, who has been jailed in Russia. Griner was arrested after arriving at a Moscow airport, apparently in mid-February, after Russian authorities said a search of her luggage revealed vape cartridges allegedly containing cannabis-derived oil.
Griner faces up to 10 years in prison under Russian law.
“President Biden, bring Brittney Griner home,” Proudfoot said.
For more on AP’s Oscars coverage, visit: https://apnews.com/hub/academy-awards