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Thursday, Nov. 30
The Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices sports

Black Voices: Honoring Luisa Harris, the queen of basketball


Lusia “Lucy” Harris passed away on Jan. 18 at 66 years. Harris was awarded many accolades and made history in women’s basketball. Harris didn’t get her flowers while she was still living, so it’s important her story is told, so it lives on for many generations to come. 

The news of her passing broke on Yahoo Sports NBA’s Twitter account. It gained a lot of attention from people who were shocked to learn her name after her death. 

Another Twitter account quoted Yahoo Sports NBA’s tweet and said, “Learning her name for the first time in death?!?!?!” 

The tweet gained over a hundred thousand likes with people shocked it was their first time learning about Harris.

Lusia Harris started as a center for Delta State University’s women’s basketball team. She led Delta State University to three consecutive championships during the 1970s, according to ESPN. Harris was the most dominant center and women’s basketball player in her era. 

Harris averaged 25.9 points and 14.5 rebounds during her time at Delta State University. She still holds the university’s records in all-time scoring and rebounds. 

When women’s basketball debuted at the Olympics in 1976, she was the first woman to score a basket. She went on to earn an Olympic silver medal. 

In 1977, Harris was drafted into the then NBA team New Orleans Jazz which made her the first and only woman ever to be drafted into the league. 

Harris didn’t have a chance to try out for the NBA Jazz team due to her pregnancy at the time. However, she did play in the Women’s Professional Basketball League during their 1979-1980 season. 

In 1992, she became the first Black woman inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Players have to be fully retired at least three years before being considered for induction and must go through several reviewing committees.

The Naismith Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving and promoting the history of basketball. Induction is the highest recognition one can receive in the sport. 

Harris was arguably one of the greatest women’s basketball players of all time. In 2021, a short documentary was released titled “The Queen of Basketball.” The film detailed Harris’s life and her basketball career. It did not receive too much promotion from major media companies or even sports channels. 

With all of her success, you would think she would have been well known and recognized in the sports world like her male counterparts.

It’s hard for women to get recognized for their contributions and accomplishments to history, especially Black women. It seems as if all of her accomplishments were erased from history. Harris was truly a trailblazer. 

She was a pioneer for women in basketball. 

While people are now learning about and honoring Harris, she should have been honored while she was alive. Harris deserved to smell her flowers while she was still alive.

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