Lusia Harris, the only woman drafted into the National Basketball Association, died on Tuesday in her home state of Mississippi at age 66, her family announced.
No details were provided about the cause of death.
“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’ 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 is known best for scoring the first points in an Olympic women’s basketball tournament in 1976 Montreal Games. She was also drafted by the New Orleans Jazz in 1977, making her the first and only female to be chosen in the NBA entry draft.
Harris didn’t attend the Jazz training camp because she was pregnant at the time. She did play briefly in the Women’s Professional Basketball League and won three national US college titles with Delta State.