Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson. The men of the NBA, they were the only superstars of basketball when Harris grew up. “I wanted to grow up and shoot that ball just like they would shoot it,” Harris said in “The Queen of Basketball,” a documentary released in 2021. “And I did.” Harris did shoot that ball. She grew up to be one of the best women basketball players of all time. She became a 3-time college national champion at Delta State University. She became the first woman to score a basket in Olympic women’s basketball history.
Only one other woman in basketball history has her name associated with the NBA. Denise Long was drafted as a high school senior by the San Francisco (now Golden State) Warriors in 1969. Walter Kennedy, the NBA commissioner, blocked the pick. That makes Harris the only woman officially drafted in the NBA. Harris also became the first Black woman enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame, in 1992, in Springfield, Mass. Her presenter was Oscar Robertson, the basketball idol whom she used to sneak and watch on those late nights. Harris was enshrined in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.
Harris thought she had accomplished everything she needed to, everything a woman in the 1970s could accomplish in basketball. She wouldn't really have a chance against the men. "I didn't think I was good enough," she said. "Competing against a woman, yes. It's a different story competing against a man. So, I decided not to go. "I said no to the NBA."
Eight years before, the San Francisco Warriors had selected Denise Long in the 1969 NBA Draft, but the league voided it. Therefore, when the Minter City, Miss., native was picked on June 10, 1977, she went into the history books as the first and only woman ever drafted by an NBA team. On Tuesday, Delta State announced that she died at 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,” Harris-Stewart’s 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.”
Groundbreaking basketball star Lusia Harris, the only woman to be drafted by an NBA team, has died at the age of 66. Harris' family announced Tuesday that she died unexpectedly earlier in the day in her home state of Mississippi.
Harris was selected by the New Orleans Jazz in the seventh round (137th overall) of the 1977 NBA draft. However, she declined to try out for the team. Only later was it revealed that she was pregnant at the time.
June 26, 2022 | 4:04 pm EDT Update
TeamFacu: Facundo Campazzo, in case doubts persisted: “My first, second and third priority is to continue in the NBA. For now, I don’t have it in my head to return to Europe. It’s obvious that at some point a return to Europe will happen, but not right now. I have it very clear: I want to try again, with whichever NBA franchise, to try again.”
Derrick Rose’s value may go beyond what he can produce on the floor for the Knicks. His presence alone could contribute to landing their priority in free agency. The veteran guard is yet another link between the Knicks and coveted point guard Jalen Brunson, their bond tracing back to Brunson’s formative years in Illinois when Rose was the Bulls’ star point guard and Brunson had dreams of playing in the NBA one day.
“Jalen would go over to the Bulls facility and practice with the Bulls players,” Pat Ambrose, Brunson’s coach at Adlai Stevenson High School who remains close to him, told The Post in a phone interview. “That’s where he became good friends with Derrick Rose. So your story gets deep with the Knicks. Derrick saw that young Jalen was a very, very good player and Derrick was a Chicago kid, and really started to mentor Jalen basketball-wise.”
JD Shaw: The Washington Wizards are adding guard Craig Sword to their summer league roster, agent Josh Goodwin tells @HoopsRumors. Sword signed a 10-day contract with the team this past season. He also played 14 games for Washington’s G League affiliate.
June 26, 2022 | 3:50 pm EDT Update
Yet rumbles have finally begun to circulate about John Wall resurfacing as an active player next season. This week marked the first time in some time that I heard serious murmurs about Wall successfully negotiating a buyout with the Rockets after his season on the sidelines — provided Houston remains unable to find a trade partner on a Wall deal.
It is still unclear, with Wall presumed to be essentially untradeable when he’s due $47.4 million next season, how much of that salary he would have to surrender in buyout talks to convince the Rockets to let him become a free agent. The latest Wall-related scuttle does, however, suggest that a pathway for the sides to get there is at last materializing.
Interest in Wall from the Clippers and Heat, if he can finally make his way onto the open market, has been mentioned for months. I’ve likewise been advised that the Lakers — resistant as they remain to trading Russell Westbrook to Houston for Wall by attaching draft capital as a sweetener for the Rockets — would consider Wall as a candidate for the roster if he is suddenly available via the buyout market.