STATISTICS & HISTORY
Harry “Bucky” Lew was the first African-American to play professional basketball. Lew first attracted attention as a teenager with his blazing speed and agility on the court. Despite being a weak shooter, he was still a capable scorer with quick bursts to the basket for layups. When he was just 18 years old, Lew signed with the Lowell PAC of the New England Basketball League team for the 1902-03 season. Before the 1903- 04 season, Lew’s contract was purchased by the Haverhill team in the same league. He enjoyed an outstanding sophomore year as a professional until late in the season when he was slowed by a dislocated shoulder. Lew dislocated his shoulder again in a collision early the following season. Although Lew once scored 14 points in a game, a huge number in 1902, he was not a very good shooter. He was an excellent passer and showed real skill as a defender. He was particularly adept at guarding some of the league’s faster players such as the famed Harry Hough. Haverhill finished in first place during the first-half of the split season ahead of the highly favored Natick club that featured Hough and Joe Fogarty. While Lew was generally well-received by fans and players alike, he did face some episodes of discrimination. After some rough early-season matchups, some Natick players protested Lew’s presence in league. President Fred Cunningham quickly fined the Natick team $50 and said there would be no color line in NEBA. The same two teams met in the playoffs, with Natick winning the championship without any further incidents. In the end, Lew’s professional career was cut short not by prejudice, but by harsh realities of early professional basketball. The NEBA, dependent on highly-paid stars from Philadelphia, disappeared under a sea of red ink after the 1904-05 season. Major-league basketball in New England did not take hold until after World War II. Lew remained in the Lowell area where he was a popular figure on semi-professional teams until the early 1920’s.
|Harry H. Lew||Born: Jan 4,1884||Died: Oct 22, 1963||Hometown:||Lowell, Ma.|
|REGULAR SEASON RECORD|
|Major League Totals||150||210||0||420||2.8|