INDIANAPOLIS — Luisa Harris, the only woman drafted by an NBA team, and, the first to score points in women’s basketball history at the Olympics, died Tuesday at the age of 66 in her Mississippi home.
“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,” the family said in a statement. “The recent months brought Ms. Harris great joy, including the news of the upcoming wedding of her youngest son and the outpouring of recognition received by a recent documentary that brought worldwide attention to her story.”
Harris was drafted by the New Orleans Jazz NBA team in 1977. She declined due to her pregnancy at the time. She played at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi where she brought the team to several national titles. Harris also won a silver medal for the U.S. at the Montreal Olympics in 1976 and was later inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992 as the first Black woman to earn that honor. Later, she was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.
“She will be remembered for her charity, for her achievements both on and off the court, and the light she brought to her community, the state of Mississippi, her country as the first woman ever to score a basket in the Olympics, and to women who play basketball around the world,” the statement said.