Facts about Lusia Harris
Lusia Harris Biography
Lusia “Lucy” Harris was a record-breaking women’s basketball player in the 1970s, made famous again by the Oscar-winning short documentary The Queen of Basketball (2021).
The film was released just seven months before Harris died.
Harris grew up in a large family in a small town in Mississippi. At 6’ 3” and 185 pounds, she was a standout high school player who went to college at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi because they were starting a women’s basketball program.
During her years at Delta State (1973-77) she dominated the sport and led the team to three national championships.
Harris also played in the 1975 Pan American Games (gold medal) and the 1976 Olympics in Montreal (gold medal).
The 1976 Olympics was the first time women’s basketball was among the competitions, and it was Harris who scored the first ever basket.
In 1977 Harris was drafted by the NBA’s New Orleans Jazz in the seventh round (137th overall). Rather than try out for the team, Harris declined to focus on building a family with her new husband, George Stewart. (Harris-Stewart played professionally briefly in the short-lived Women’s Basketball League in 1979.)
She and her husband raised four children and she worked as an educator and coach, ultimately in her hometown.
Harris-Stewart was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992 (the first woman player to be honored) and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.