Today for Black History Month we celebrate Lusia Harris (1955), the first female player to join the National Basketball League. The Delta State University student was picked in the seventh round of the 1977 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Jazz.
It was a very well deserved pick, Harris is still considered one of the greatest centers to ever play college basketball. Her record speaks for itself; she was a three-time All American at Delta State, Four-Time All-State Champion, and team MVP. She set a record of 58 points in a single game, the most points by a woman in a college game. In 1976 Harris won a silver medal with the U.S. Women’s Basketball Team in the Montreal Summer Olympics.
Ultimately, the 6″ 3 phenomena did not end up playing a single game in the NBA. The Jazz likely picked her as a publicity stunt, but the pick was certified as official. There is no doubt that Harris could have delivered some serious game on the court.
In 1992 Harris was inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1999 Harris was among the first women to be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Before the WNBA existed, there was Lusia Harris ready to take on the NBA. Today we honor her, she made history.
Sources and Links:
- Lusia Harris – BlackPast
- Women’s Basketball Legend Lusia Harris – NBA