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WATCH: ‘Queen Of Basketball’ Chronicles Hoops GOAT Lusia Harris, First and Only Woman Drafted by NBA

Update: Lusia Harris, the only woman to be drafted by an NBA team, died Tuesday (Jan. 18) at the age of 66. Harris’ family announced that she died unexpectedly in her home state of Mississippi. “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,” Harris’ family said in a statement.

Earlier Story:

*Before Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoops and Cheryl Miller, there was Lusia “Lucy” Harris. Most people have never heard of this women’s basketball phenomenon, who led her team to three straight college national championships during the 1970s, earning tournament MVP each time; scored the first points of women’s competition in the Olympic Games, after women’s basketball was finally added in 1976, and led the U.S. women to the silver medal at the Montreal games.

Harris “held the distinction of being the [Olympic] team’s leading scorer and leading rebounder,” notes the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, where she is enshrined. “Lusia Harris-Stewart was big, relentless, and dominated the painted area like no woman before her.”

Harris’s incredible accomplishments have largely been forgotten—even the remarkable fact that she became the first and only woman ever officially drafted by an NBA team (chosen in 1977 by the New Orleans Jazz).

The current Oscar-shortlisted short documentary “The Queen of Basketball,” part of the New York Times Op-docs series, aims to at either introduce or cement her legacy to hoops fans.

“One of the greatest basketball players of her time, male or female,” declares director Ben Proudfoot. “She was absolutely preeminent. She was absolutely extraordinary.” With help from the New York Times he tracked down Harris in Mississippi where she was born and raised and still lives, and reached her by phone.

“I was so excited to speak to her and told her who I was and asked her if she would be interested in talking to me and talking about her story,” Proudfoot recalls. “And she very simply said, ‘Sure, come on, come on over.’”

Shaquille O’Neal signed on in November as an executive producer of “The Queen of Basketball” to help Harris get her long-deserved flowers through this film. Watch the trailer above, and the full 22-minute documentary, officially titled “The Queen of Basketball: When the N.B.A. Officially Drafted a Woman | ‘Almost Famous’,” below.

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