Opinion | Meet the First Woman Officially Drafted by the N.B.A.

Lusia Harris led her team to three national
championships, scored the first basket in women’s Olympic
history and was an official draft pick in 1977.

Lusia Harris led her team to three national championships, scored the first basket in women’s Olympic history and was an official draft pick in 1977.







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By Ben Proudfoot

Mr. Proudfoot is an Emmy-winning filmmaker.

As a child growing up in rural Mississippi, Lusia “Lucy” Harris often stayed up past her bedtime watching her favorite N.B.A. players, dreaming of one day playing on the same courts. Reaching 6 feet 3 inches by the time she was in high school, Harris was often called “long and tall and that’s all” by her classmates — but she knew her height would be an asset on the court. And she wasn’t just tall enough to play the game. She was a rare talent who would go on to be a three-time national college champion and an Olympic silver medalist, making her a national sensation by the time she finished her college career.

For an electrifying young basketball player on the national stage, success often comes with a lucrative professional contract and brand deals — but Harris’s moment came in the 1970s, decades before the W.N.B.A. was founded, when few opportunities were available to female athletes interested in pursuing a professional career. In the short documentary above, Harris tells the story of what happens when an unstoppable talent runs out of games to win.

Ben Proudfoot is a filmmaker and the founder and C.E.O. of Breakwater Studios. He co-directed the Oscar-nominated Op-Doc ‘A Concerto Is a Conversation.’

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