Maurice Lucas

Nickname: "Luke"
Ht. 6-9
Wt. 215
College - Marquette
ABA Teams: St. Louis (1974-75 to 1975-76), Kentucky (1975-76)

Signed with the ABA Spirits of St. Louis after his sophomore year with Marquette; Along with Marvin Barnes and Gus Gerard, part of the Spirits' famous 1974-75 "all-rookie" front line; Named to 1974-75 ABA All-Rookie 2nd team after averaging 13.2 ppg and 10.2 rpg; Played next to Artis Gilmore on the Colonels' front line for most of 1975-76 season after the Spirits traded him to Kentucky for Caldwell Jones; Member of 1975-76 ABA All-Star Team; Tenacious rebounder; Famed "Enforcer" known for his aggressive, bruising style of play; Portland Trailblazers traded guard Geoff Petrie and forward Steve Hawes to the Atlanta Hawks for the 2nd overall pick in the 1976 ABA Dispersal Draft, which the Blazers used to select Lucas (at a price of $300,000); Helped the Trailblazers to the 1976-77 NBA Championship; Went on to play for the New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, L.A. Lakers, and Seattle SuperSonics; Played his final NBA season (1987-88) back with the Blazers; Known for carrying vitamins, tuna, peanuts and fruit on all road trips; Mild-mannered off the court; Passed away on October 31, 2010 after a brave battle with bladder cancer

Career ABA Totals 166 5325 1058 2283 .463 5 27 .185 397 512 .775 1786 511 633 164 121 2518 10.8 3.1 15.2
ABA Playoff Totals 20 705 143 305 .469 0 1 .000 42 60 .700 255 72 92 20 20 328 12.8 3.6 16.4
ABA All-Star Totals 1 14 2 5 .400 0 0 .000 1 1 1.000 5 3 1 0 0 5 5.0 3.0 5.0

MEMORIES OF GEORGE RORRER: "I covered the Kentucky Colonels for the Louisville Times and they're as much a part of my happiest days as my family. One memory that stands out: One night at Freedom Hall, Maurice Lucas of the Spirits got under Artis Gilmore's skin. Artis, normally the most gentle of giants, started trying to punch Lucas. Artis had superhuman strength, but he wasn't much of a boxer. His blows were almost slaps. Lucas, one of the league's most feared fighters, backpedaled the length of the court. When he got to the baseline, he planted his feet and hit Artis with a straight right to the jaw. Artis went down in sections. First his knees crumpled, then his waist folded, then his arms flailed and then his trunk and head found the floor. By then, teammates had broken up the fight. Those who knew Artis were shocked and saddened, not that Artis had lost a fight but that he had even been in one. His agent, Herb Rudoy, flew in from Chicago to soothe the big guy's psyche. You know the rest. The Big A got over it and Lucas eventually became a Colonel, too. "

MAURICE LUCAS AS A PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZER: Under the terms of the ABA/NBA merger, 20 players from two defunct ABA teams (the Kentucky Colonels and the Spirits of St. Louis) went into a special "ABA Dispersal Draft." If NBA teams were willing to pay a predetermined price, they could select and sign these players for the 1976-77 season.

With the third pick in this draft, the Portland Trail Blazers picked Maurice Lucas for a signing price of $300,000. While some criticized this price as being too high, the physical Lucas meshed well with players like Bill Walton, Lionel Hollins, Bobby Gross, and even former ABA veteran Dave Twardzik (signed as a free agent after the demise of the Virginia Squires). This group, coached by Jack Ramsey, rolled past the Chicago Bulls, the Denver Nuggets and the L.A. Lakers in the 1977 NBA Western Conference Playoffs. Then, in the 1977 NBA Finals, they dispatched the highly-favored Philadelphia 76ers to give Portland its only NBA World Championship to date.

Lucas liked Portland as much as Portland liked him - he came back to the Blazers for his last pro season, 1987-88. The team retired his number the following season, on November 4, 1988. He served as an assistant coach for the Blazers from 2005 to 2009. Following his passing in October 2010, the Blazers decided to honor Lucas by wearing a special #20 jersey patch for the remainder of the 2010-11 NBA season.

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