51 Facts About Jerry Lucas


Jerry Lucas was a nationally awarded high school player, national college star at Ohio State, and 1960 gold medal Olympian and international player before later starring as a professional player in the National Basketball Association.


Jerry Lucas is the only three-time Big Ten Basketball Player of the Year, and was named the NCAA Player of the Year in 1961 and 1962 by the United States Basketball Writers Association, the Associated Press, and the Sporting News.


Jerry Lucas was inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980.


Jerry Lucas was born in Middletown, Ohio, a community of 30,000+ halfway between Dayton and Cincinnati.


The Middies had already won five Ohio state high school championships between 1945 and 1955 before Jerry Lucas ever played at Middletown High.


Jerry Lucas was, in fact, outplaying college-level big men before he played his first game for Middletown High.


Jerry Lucas applied his intelligence successfully to his coaching in the game.


Jerry Lucas carried a 34-point scoring average through his high school years, and received national press when he surpassed Chamberlain's high school total in points.


Jerry Lucas threw the discus in track and field, finishing third at state in 1957, and fifth at state in 1958.


Jerry Lucas ended his high school career as Middletown's number one scorer with 2,460 points.


Jerry Lucas was the subject of considerable recruiting interest while at Middletown, to such a degree that measures were taken to protect the privacy of Jerry Lucas and his family.


Jerry Lucas had insisted on an academic scholarship to Ohio State and would continue to be an A-student at the college level.


Jerry Lucas was a member of the fraternity Beta Theta Pi at Ohio State.


Jerry Lucas averaged 16 rebounds per game and was named Most Outstanding Player of the 1960 NCAA Final Four.


Jerry Lucas was on the cover of Sports Illustrated for the first time in January 1960.


Jerry Lucas was badly injured against Wake Forest in the semifinal preceding his rematch against the University of Cincinnati Bearcats.


Jerry Lucas was All-American First Team all three years at Ohio State.


Jerry Lucas is still widely considered the greatest player to ever play in the Big Ten today.


Jerry Lucas is still widely regarded as one of the greatest college players of all-time.


Jerry Lucas had a sub-par Olympic Trials, due to fatigue from the NCAA final and the high altitude of the Trials in Denver, but still easily led all Trials players in rebounding.


Jerry Lucas then scored 21 points in the gold medal final against Brazil to finish second to teammate Oscar Robertson for the team lead in scoring, with 134 points scored in the Olympics over eight games.


That team played games in Moscow, Leningrad, and Kyiv with Jerry Lucas starring at center, and won all eight games played.


In 1964, Jerry Lucas was part of a team of NBA players that played behind the Iron Curtain in Poland, Romania and Yugoslavia.


Jerry Lucas decided he wanted to play pro basketball after all, and the Royals retained his rights.


Jerry Lucas was moved to the big forward position his first season, and the Royals soon had the second-best record in the NBA that year.


Jerry Lucas had four 30-rebound games, and one 40-rebound game on February 29,1964, and remains the only NBA forward with a 40-rebound game.


Jerry Lucas played through the injury, but never quite recovered his form during the playoffs.


In Cincinnati's one playoff game win over Boston, Jerry Lucas posted a triple-double game with 16 points, 10 assists, and 25 rebounds, but the Royals lost in the Eastern Conference Finals.


Jerry Lucas averaged over 20 rebounds per game both seasons.


Jerry Lucas had again been injured in the 1966 playoffs, accidentally undercut from behind by a teammate, but still toughed through big minutes of play.


Jerry Lucas was named Most Valuable Player of the 1965 NBA All-Star Game in St Louis, having scored 26 points.


Jerry Lucas created a number of children's games during this period, starting his own toys and games company.


Jerry Lucas published a book on the many magic card tricks he often performed himself.


Jerry Lucas was second in the league to Chamberlain in rebounds and minutes played.


Jerry Lucas had topped Bill Russell of Boston by more than 100 rebounds on the season as just the second player ever to out-rebound Russell over a full season.


Jerry Lucas was First Team All-NBA again, but the Royals missed the playoffs on the last day of the season.


Over 308 games from 1964 to 1968, Jerry Lucas averaged 20.5 points and 19.8 rebounds per game.


Jerry Lucas played in his sixth straight All-Star Game in 1969.


In 1969, the American economy tightened, and Jerry Lucas saw his lines of credit for his many investments close.


Jerry Lucas returned to the NBA All-Star Game in 1971 for the seventh and final time.


Jerry Lucas was fifth in the league in rebounding in an NBA that now had 17 teams.


Jerry Lucas was the smallest center in the league, and many were skeptical about how Lucas and the Knicks would do with this lineup.


Jerry Lucas's outside shooting, often well past today's three-point line, changed defensive strategies, as opponents were forced to send their big man 20 feet from the basket to guard Lucas.


Jerry Lucas was an outstanding passing center, just as he had been in college.


Jerry Lucas was sent to the bench for the first time in his career.


Jerry Lucas played far less and was physically declining in his 11th professional season.


The 34-year-old Jerry Lucas retired from the NBA following the season.


Jerry Lucas is seventh all-time in minutes played per game, despite being a reserve the last two years of his career.


Jerry Lucas was selected by the NBA in 1996 as one of its 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, and again in 2021 as part of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.


Jerry Lucas has been a committed Christian since his final year in the NBA when he memorized large sections of the New Testament, and many of his current speaking engagements are at churches.


Jerry Lucas was married to Treva Lucas while in college and divorced in 1974.