PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — One of Portland’s greatest sources of pride is its only NBA championship from 1977.
Maurice Lucas, the power forward who helped lead the team to victory, is known as “The Enforcer”. He died of cancer in 2010, but his legacy lives on through his son, David, who runs the Maurice Lucas Foundation full-time.
“Maurice Lucas knew success,” David told KOIN 6 News. “He worked his way to be a college basketball standout, top professional draft pick and an NBA champion.”
But David said his father’s greatest success was in his community.
The Maurice Lucas Foundation’s academy helps middle school kids, especially those at risk. There’s an after-school program based at Irvington School that teaches kids the pillars of success, respect and leadership, on and off the court. It involves mentors, tutors and field trips to local colleges that help kids shape their futures.
“Our youth are up and coming leaders in this community, he felt it was very important to give back and serve,” David said. “I don’t take that for granted.”
Each year, the Blazers support the Maurice Lucas Foundation through a gala fundraising event. It attracts some of the biggest names in NBA history, including Maurice’s teammate Bill Walton and hall-of-famer Bill Russell.
Although Maurice is gone, his love for Portland lives on through the foundation.
“I look forward to building his legacy as long as I’m on this Earth,” David said.
This year’s Maurice Lucas Foundation Dinner and Gala will be held Friday, September 30 at the Portland Hilton. For more information, click here.