/Why did an NBA team draft Lucy Harris A Mississippi guy was involved

Why did an NBA team draft Lucy Harris A Mississippi guy was involved

Then there’s this: The first and only female NBA draft team. You might be wondering, almost 45 years later: How did this happen? We are glad you asked. Madison Square Garden hosted the 1977 NBA Draft. Over eight rounds, 170 names were called. The New Orleans Jazz picked Harris with the 137th round pick. This made headlines all over the world and was featured in the newspapers the next day. The Jazz, who didn’t attend the draft, were still in flux. Butch van Bredakolff was fired in the first season after a record of 14-12. You might be wondering why a coach with a winning record would be fired by a franchise that has never experienced success. His record was not the reason. Van Breda Kolff, who had lobbyisted for the Jazz to trade three draft picks in the first round to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Gail Goodrich in a trade that will live on in NBA legend. The Lakers would use one of the first rounders to acquire Magic Johnson, a future Hall of Famer. READ MORE: Delta State basketball legend Lucy Harris has died at the age of 66. While this has nothing to do w/why the Jazz chose Harris, we are making progress. The Jazz took part in the 1977 draft long distance from their offices in the Louisiana Superdome. This is where the Jazz played their games. It was also where they could be seen by more than 40,000 people to see Pistol Pete do his thing. This is because I was one of the many thousands. Although the Jazz lost most of the time, the entertainment value was unmatched. Elgin Baylor was the interim head coach. He is one of the most important players in the history of the sport. Lewis Schaffel became the new general manager. Mississippian Pat Speer was an Ole Miss graduate who once played basketball at Gulfport High for Bert Jenkins. He was present in the Jazz “warroom” for 1977 draft. Speer, now a Madison resident, recalls that they didn’t have a pick in the first round. “We had traded it for Goodrich.” The Jazz picked Essie Hollis from St. Bonaventure to take the second round pick. She would play in a total 25 NBA games. The Jazz selected Tony Hanson from Connecticut, but he would not play. The Jazz selected Dennis Boyd from Detroit Mercy in the fourth round. He would score six points over five games during his brief NBA career. Jim Grady, fifth rounder from Gonzaga, and Wayne Golden, sixth rounder from Chattanooga, never played a single game. The draft finally reached the sixth round, and the Jazz were ready to pick. Here’s the thing: There was no Jazz prospect left on their draft list. Schaffel asked Baylor about his list, and he shook his head. Schaffel was also empty handed and asked Baylor, who shook his head. Speer then suggested that they take Lucy Harris. Harris had just won the third consecutive national championship for Delta State, scoring 23 points and winning 16 rounds to help the Lady Statesmen beat LSU. Speer was told about Harris by Mississippi friends. His father, who was Indianola native, knew everything about Harris and Coach Margaret Wade as well as the amazing Lady Statesmen. No one raised objections, so Schaffel accepted Speer’s suggestion. He then delivered the news to Larry O’Brien (then-NBA Commissioner), who announced the pick. 40 years later, I can confirm that the Jazz’s selection of Harris with the 137th draft pick received as much attention as Milwaukee’s Kent Benson being selected with the first pick. And a lot more than Kansas City getting Olympic decathlon champion Bruce Jenner (now Caitlyn Jenner), two picks after Harris was taken by the Jazz. Speer stated that many people called it a publicity stunt. It was like something was planned. “It wasn’t. It was spontaneous. “We had never discussed it.” Speer recalls speaking to Harris over the phone after the draft. Speer says that Harris seemed initially determined to attend training camp. “Later on, she declined. It turned out that Harris was pregnant. Harris’ basketball playing career was ended for good. In the 1979-80 season, she played briefly with the Houston Angels of WBL’s ill-fated Women’s Professional Basketball League. Speer says, “I don’t know what made me blurt her name, but I’m glad that I did.” It seems so shameful that there was no WNBA at the moment, so she could have continued playing. She is now a professional. We are here, all these years later, and she is still the only, the only, woman to be drafted by the NBA. It’s quite neat.”