Women's basketball Icon to be Remembered
DALLAS, Jan. 21, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lusia Harris was an iconic figure in American sports. Former NBA exec Barry Mendelson - now president of Mendelson Entertainment Group - is developing a film featuring Lusia Harris.
During her legendary career, she led Delta State University to two national titles, was selected a Kodak All-American, won a gold medal at the 1975 Pan Am Games in Mexico City and has the prestige of scoring the first basket for Team USA Women at the 1976 Olympics. Those two points led the way to a barrage of international dominance in women's basketball that continues with the accomplishments of Coaches Dawn Staley, Geno Auriemma and more. The 1976 roster is a Mt. Olympus of women's basketball (with names like Sue Gunter, Ann Meyers, Nancy Lieberman and the late, great Pat Summitt). Harris is also remembered for being the first woman drafted in the NBA by New Orleans Jazz General Manager and Executive Vice-President, Barry Mendelson.
"I was in Montreal with Dave Gavitt (former coach at Providence College and Big East Commissioner) and Coach Dean Smith. I saw Lusia play. Although they lost the title game to the USSR, I remember that team, that game and Lusia," said Mendelson.
Mendelson drafted Lusia Harris in the seventh round of the 1977 NBA draft.
"Coach [Elgin] Baylor and I talked about Lusia. With her size and ability, we knew she could score in the NBA," said Mendelson. The Jazz roster included Gail Goodrich, Aaron James, Rich Kelley, Leonard 'Truck' Robinson and the great 'Pistol' Pete Maravich.
Last year, Mendelson and writer/producer Lindell Singleton talked with Harris about their vision to make her the focal point of a documentary they are developing entitled, "The Sisters of the Summer" about the 1976 Olympic team.
"As a kid," recalls Mendelson, "my mother dropped me at the arena to watch our hometown NBA team, the Rochester Royals. I know basketball. I love the game. What Lusia did will never be repeated because we live in a different time—and, in many aspects, a different world. I am deeply honored to be part of this American story."
To this day, Lusia Harris is the only woman to be chosen in the NBA draft.
Mendelson continues: "Black history month is upon us and it's easy to load stories like Lusia's onto the black history shelf — the reality is that this is also a women's story, a basketball story and an American story. Black history is American history."
ABOUT BARRY MENDELSON
Barry Mendelson, President of Mendelson Entertainment Group, is currently developing a six-part narrative series about "Pistol" Pete Maravich entitled, "He Could Have Played Blind," and a timely documentary about professional athletes facing mental health challenges. The centerpiece of this upcoming film is the story of the late Houston Astros pitcher, JR Richard.
Contact Barry Mendelson, email@example.com, 323.282.8554
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