First woman drafted by men's NBA team thought it was a joke when she heard the news

"...Drafted by a men's team?"

Photo courtesy of Good Morning America/ YouTube

Lusia Harris, the legend who was the first and only woman to be drafted by a men's NBA team officially, passed away on Tuesday aged 66.

"We are deeply saddened to share the news that our angel, matriarch, sister, mother, grandmother, Olympic medalist, The Queen of Basketball, Lusia Harris has passed away unexpectedly today in Mississippi," her family said in a statement.

In 1977, "The Queen of Basketball" was drafted by the New Orleans Jazz in the seventh round. She didn't try out for the team because she was pregnant at the time.

Despite this, she believed it was a joke at first because many women played at high levels in college, but none received the attention of a men's league.

For example, in 1969, the San Francisco Warriors attempted to draft Denise Long, but the NBA blocked the decision because she didn't meet the drafting criteria, partly due to her gender.

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"...Drafted by a Men's team?" Harris said about being selected, according to a Mississippi-based newspaper.

In the 1970s, Harris assisted Delta State University in winning three consecutive national titles and winning a silver medal for the United States at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

She also became the first Black woman to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992. And seven years later, in 1999, she was inducted into the Women's BasketballHall of Fame.

Harris' Delta State career propelled them to a 109-6 record averaging 25.9 points and 14.4 rebounds. She is still the all-time leading scorer (2,981 points) and rebounder at the college (1,662).

In 1975, Harris was named to the United States women's team. Women's basketball made its Olympic debut the following year, and Harris scored the first round of points in the tournament's first game.

Elsewhere, in 2021, she was the focus of a short film titled The Queen of Basketball that delved into her career and legacy.

Check out the trailer below:

The Queen of Basketball (Official Trailer #2)

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