One of America’s First Black Basketball Stars
Lowell’s Harry “Bucky” Lew is believed to be the country’s first Black professional basketball player. Born in 1884, Harry’s remarkable family history includes a Revolutionary War patriot as well as operators of an Underground Railroad station. Lew was an accomplished musician, but it was his work on the court that earned him the respect and affection of fellow Lowellians.
Lew joined the YMCA’s “Young Employed Boys” basketball team in 1898, gaining attention for his defensive skills and advanced dribbling. In 1902, he joined the professional Pawtucketville Athletic Club team, making them the first integrated basketball team in the country. Harry Lew’s dynamic style and grace made him a fan favorite, and he continued his basketball career until 1926, officially retiring at the age of 42.