The sports history books are filled with stories that exemplify the power of resilience, however far too often the contributions of barrier-breaking women are left out of the pages. Among the collective of unsung trailblazing athletes is the late Lusia ‘Lucy’ Harris who transformed the game of basketball. According to the Hollywood Reporter, NBA star Stephen Curry has signed on as an executive producer for a documentary about her life and legacy.
Harris—who hailed from Minter City, Mississippi—made history in 1977 as the first woman to officially be drafted by the National Basketball Association. Although she declined the offer to play for the then New Orleans Jazz, she charted a triumphant path within the sport. The Delta State University women’s basketball standout—who led her team to three successive national championships during the 70s—competed in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, scoring the first points in Olympic women’s basketball history.
Harris received several accolades including being inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1990 and becoming the first Black woman and first women’s college basketball player to be added to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999. Despite the honors, sadly many people didn’t learn about her pivotal story until after she passed away in January.
The Oscar-nominated documentary short—titled The Queen of Basketball—was created to make sure her legacy is forever etched in sports history. The project was developed by Ben Proudfoot, Adam Ellick, Donnie F. Wilson, Jane Solomon and Mike Parris. As executive producers, Curry and retired NBA player Shaquille O’Neal will be instrumental in amplifying the film and ensuring it reaches new audiences.
“We’re honored to join the talented team behind The Queen of Basketball and play a role in uplifting the story of the trailblazing Lucy Harris,” Curry and his Unanimous Media co-founder Erick Peyton shared in a statement, according to the news outlet. “Lucy, a true pioneer in the game of basketball and an inspiration for many, deserves to be recognized for her achievements. Through this compelling short subject documentary, her legacy will continue to live on and impact audiences all over the world.” Harris’ family shared they’re “grateful to Steph for believing in the project and helping to ensure her story is never forgotten.”
The short film won the Critics’ Choice Documentary Award’s Best Short Documentary category last year and was also the Best Documentary Short winner at the 2021 Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films.
Many basketball stars are stepping into the film space to lead projects that honor legends who came before them. Earlier this year, Los Angeles Lakers player Russell Westbrook announced he’s developing a documentary that will capture the narratives of pioneering Black basketball players who competed before the NBA’s racial integration.