Nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject at this year’s Oscars, “The Queen of Basketball” tells the pioneering athlete’s story.
The Queen of Basketball, a short film about pioneering athlete Lusia “Lucy” Harris currently streaming on nytimes.com and The New York Times‘ YouTube channel, has gotten some big-name support a week ahead of final voting for the Academy Awards.
Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors has signed on to join retired NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal as an executive producer of the 22-minute documentary, directed by Ben Proudfoot, that tells the story of one of the greatest women’s basketball players ever. It is nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject at this year’s Oscars.
Pioneering basketball player Lusia “Lucy” Harris in “The Queen of Basketball,” which is nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject at this year’s Oscars. (Photo: Breakwater Studios)
Harris was a championship basketball player who led Delta State University to three straight national titles in the 1970s. Nabbing 2,981 points and 1,662 rebounds, she remains the school’s all-time scoring leader.
She was named to the United States Olympic Women’s Basketball team in 1976, which was the first time women competed in the sport at the Olympic level. Harris scored the first points in the first game and was instrumental in leading the U.S. squad to a silver medal.
Harris was also the first woman to be drafted into the NBA, but she did not move forward in the process because she was expecting her first child. Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992, Harris was the first Black woman to receive that honor. She was later inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.
Harris, who died in January, was reportedly integral to the development of The Queen of Basketball, as was her family.
Per a statement sent to theGrio, Curry said, of joining the film’s executive producers’ list, that he and Erick Payton, co-founders of Unanimous Media, are “honored to join the talented team behind The Queen of Basketball and play a role in uplifting the story of the trailblazing Lucy Harris.”
“Lucy, a true pioneer in the game of basketball and an inspiration for many, deserves to be recognized for her achievements,” they added. “Through this compelling short subject documentary, her legacy will continue to live on and impact audiences all over the world.”
O’Neal said of their team’s addition, “Stephen Curry is one of the NBA’s most iconic players whose voice speaks volumes on and off the court. I’m thrilled to have him join the team to help immortalize Lusia Harris aka The Queen of Basketball.”
The Harris family also thanked Curry for joining the team, saying in a statement, “We know our mom would have been overjoyed with his addition as she loved to watch Steph ‘shoot the lights out of that ball.’ We are grateful to Steph for believing in the project and helping to ensure her story is never forgotten. Long live the Queen.”
The Queen of Basketball re-airs on NBA TV multiple times this month as part of its primetime Women’s History Month coverage: On Thursday, March 17 at 10 p.m.; Monday, March 21 at 11 p.m.; Sunday, March 27 at noon, the date of the 94th Academy Awards, and Monday, March 28 at 6:30 p.m., the day after the 94th Academy Awards.
It has already won Best Documentary Short at the 2021 Palm Springs International ShortFest, as well as the 2021 Critics Choice Documentary Awards for Best Documentary Short.
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