The documentary on women’s basketball trailblazer Lusia Harris can add one more accolade to its list of accomplishments: an Academy Award.
“The Queen of Basketball” – which includes Shaquille O’Neal and Steph Curry among its executive producers – won the Oscar for short subject documentary on Sunday. The award comes two months after Harris’ death. The documentary, which details Harris’ career, debuted in 2021 and was published by the New York Times.
Ben Proudfoot, who directed the short film, accepted the award.
“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,” Proudfoot said. He then recognized Harris’ family, who was in attendance.
The Oscar for Documentary Short goes to Ben Proudfoot for 'The Queen of Basketball.' Congratulations! #Oscars pic.twitter.com/n9idx2DQdE— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 28, 2022
The Oscar for Documentary Short goes to Ben Proudfoot for 'The Queen of Basketball.' Congratulations! #Oscars pic.twitter.com/n9idx2DQdE
A member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Harris was the first Black woman to be inducted in 1992. She also starred on the inaugural U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team in 1976, becoming the first woman to score points in Olympic women’s basketball history. A center on the team, she led Team USA as its leading scorer and rebounder en route to a silver medal.
She remains the first and only woman to be officially drafted by an NBA team.
Proudfoot also took the moment to call for the release of WNBA player Brittney Griner. A two-time Olympic gold medalist for Team USA, Griner has been detained in Russia since mid-February. Accused of the “large scale exportation of drugs,” Griner could face up to 10 years in prison under Russian law.
“President Biden, bring Brittney Griner home,” Proudfoot said.