Amid all of the noise of the 2022 Oscars, it’s easy to lose sight of the real winners. In the documentary category, the 22-minute film “Queen of Basketball” took home a well-deserved Oscar for short subject documentary.
Directed by Ben Proudfoot and produced by NBA stars Shaquille O’Neal and Stephen Curry, “Queen of Basketball” tells the oft-forgotten story of Lucy Harris, a pioneer in the development and popularization of women’s basketball in the United States. Harris played at AIAW power program Delta State in the late 1970s, leading the team to three straight national titles. This took place in the days before the NCAA implemented a women’s national championship bracket.
Harris also holds the distinction of being the only woman to officially be drafted by an NBA team when she was selected by the New Orleans Jazz in the seventh round of the 1977 amateur draft. While she did not try out because she was pregnant at the time, she starred for the United States national team in the 1976 Olympics, becoming the first woman to score a point in the history of Olympic basketball.
For all of her achievements, Harris was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992. She is seen as a trailblazer for women in sports and an integral part of the spread of women’s basketball. She passed away earlier this year at the age of 66.
“If there is anyone out there who doubts that there is an audience for female athletes and questions whether their stories are valuable or entertaining or important … let this Academy Award be the answer,” director Ben Proudfoot said at the award ceremony in Los Angeles, via the Associated Press.