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Lucious Jackson, Former 76ers Star and Olympic Gold Medalist, Has Died

Former 76ers star Lucious “Luke” Jackson died Wednesday at a hospital in Houston due to heart problems, according to KFDM-TV in Beaumont, Texas. He was 80 years old.

Jackson, who played with the 76ers from 1964 to ’72, won a NBA championship with the franchise during the 1966–67 season. He played with two-time champion and 13-time All-Star Wilt Chamberlain.

Marva Jackson, Luke’s wife, recalled a story to KFDM-TV that “The Big Dipper” once referred to her husband of 57 years as one of the most powerful men he played with during his career.

“Luke Jackson was the second strongest man I ever played with,” Chamberlain once said, as Marva stated. "I’m [Wilt Chamberlain] the first.”

Jackson’s opportunity to play for Philadelphia came after he helped the U.S. men’s basketball team earn an Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Games in 1964, defeating the Soviet Union. From there, the 76ers pursued the talents of the power forward, drafting him No. 4 in the ’64 NBA draft.

During his eight-year career in the league, Jackson averaged 9.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 522 regular-season games. In the postseason, Jackson tallied 9.7 points and 9.1 rebounds through 56 games.

Jackson’s highest totals in points and rebounds of his career came in his first season with the 76ers, averaging a double double of 14.8 points and 12.9 rebounds and landing a spot on the league’s 1964–65 All-Rookie Team. During the 76ers’ championship season in ‘67, Jackson averaged 12.0 points (third highest of his career) and 8.9 rebounds while recording 11 points and 11.7 rebounds (highest postseason mark of his career).

The San Marcos, Texas, native played one season on scholarship at Texas Southern before transferring to Pan America College, now referred to as the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Following his NBA career, Jackson served 25 years as Beaumont’s parks and recreation director before he retired. Marva, who has three children with Jackson, said her husband was a “fun-loving person” and a “family man.”