Former Blazers enforcer Lucas dead at 58
Maurice Lucas, the fierce power forward known as "The Enforcer" who helped lead the Portland Trail Blazers to the 1977 NBA title, died yesterday after a long fight with bladder cancer. He was 58.
Lucas died at his home in Portland, the team said.
Lucas, whose No. 20 was retired by the Blazers in 1988, joined Portland in the 1976 ABA dispersal draft and led the 1976-77 championship team in scoring with a 20.2 average. He averaged 11.2 rebounds that season.
At public appearances, fans often greeted the 6-9 Lucas with cries of "Luuuuuuke!" His competitive demeanor on the court was in contrast to his gentle nature off it. He served as an assistant coach with the Blazers for six seasons but left the team to undergo surgery last year before suffering a setback last November. He did not return to coaching this season.
The former Marquette player averaged 14.4 points and 8.8 rebounds in 12 NBA seasons with Portland, the Nets, the Knicks, Phoenix, the Los Angeles Lakers and Seattle.
In two seasons in the ABA with St. Louis and Kentucky, he averaged 15.2 points and 10.8 rebounds. He was a five-time All-Star.
The 6-9 former Pittsburgh high school star led Marquette to the 1974 NCAA title game against North Carolina State and was selected to the All-Final Four team along with future Portland teammate Bill Walton. Walton named his son Luke, who plays for the Lakers, after him.
Lucas is survived by his wife, Pamela, sons David and Maurice II and daughter Kristin. - AP