Portland, Oregon has been rocked by tragedy. On Sunday, Maurice Lucus died of bladder cancer at the age of 58. Once known as “The Enforcer”, Lucus was a major factor in winning the 1977 NBA Championship. Along with center Bill Walton, power forward Lucus provided the muscle to be the NBA’s best at the time. In his 14 years as an ABA and NBA player, Lucus pulled down 14,857 points and 9, 306 rebounds. To rivals, “The Enforcer” was a tough as nails opponent.
Maurice Lucus continued to live and work in Portland, Oregon years after retiring from the NBA. It was a big surprise to local motor vehicles department users to see Lucas behind the counter for a few years before rejoining the Trailblazers as assistant coach. At one point, with so many team injuries, Lucas actually suited up again and was ready to play in a pinch for a game. But, one player felt well enough to return, so at the last moment this didn’t happen. But, it would have been a great moment to see this legend return to the game for one more time.
Maurice Lucas was a super nice guy. He was well loved. And with another former Portland Trailblazer locked in a close race today for Governor, it is unclear whether the death of Lucus could send a sympathy vote wave through some last minute voters and possibly make a difference.
With a 3-1 record so far this year, the Trailblazers are off to a great start this year. And I’m sure they all miss not having Maurice Lucas around to coach them and to give them pointers from the former champion. Heaven must have one heck of a great basketball team.