Former Blazers legend Maurice Lucas passes away at 58
Former Portland Trail Blazers attacking prodigy, Maurice Lucas aka The Enforcer has passed away at the age of 58 after losing a long term struggle with bladder cancer.
Lucas was responsible for powering the Trail Blazers to winning the NBA championship in 1977. He went on to become assistant coach of the Trail Blazers and passed away on Sunday at his Portland home according to the official statement from the Blazers.
Portland recruited Lucas in 1976 in the ABA dispersal draft and had a mean of 20.2 points per game throughout the 1976 -1977 season in addition to an average 11.2 rebounds per game in the season. Lucas was very serious and aggressive on the court but was reserved and calm when he wasn’t playing. The Blazers retired Lucas’s shirt with number 20 in 1988.
Nate McMillan, coach of the Blazers stated that the game of basketball had lost a legend and revealed his great relationship with Lucas. He revealed that Lucas never gave up on his health condition until his last breath.
Lucas worked as the Blazers’ assistant coach for 6 whole NBA seasons but had to quit the team due to his health problems which necessitated a surgical operation. His condition became worse in November 2009 and he never got better until his eventual death on Saturday.
Lucas who also played for New Jersey, Phoenix, LA Lakers and Seattle played 12 seasons in total in the NBA and had an enviable average of 14.4 points in addition to 8.8 rebounds. He also played in the ABA for 2 seasons with Kentucky and St. Louis with an average of 15.2 points and 10.8 rebounds.
He was honored with 5 NBA All-Star selections throughout his carrier.
Microsoft Co-founder Paul Allen who owns the Blazers had nice things to say about Lucas. He stated that he was privileged to get to know Lucas who he believes was a great man and revealed the gratitude of the whole Trail Blazers family including management, coaches, fans, etc. for having the opportunity to work with Lucas as both a player and coach. Allen stated that Lucas was one of the best players ever to pull on a Blazers shirt.
Lucas left behind wife Pamela, daughter Kristin and sons David and Maurice II.