Jerry Ray Lucas (born March 30, 1940) was a basketball player from the 1950s to the 1970s, and is now a memory education expert. In 1996, the NBA's 50th anniversary, he was named one of the 50 greatest players in National Basketball Association history. He was named to Sports Illustrated's five-man College All-Century Team in 1999.
Lucas was born in Middletown, Ohio, then a community of 30,000+ halfway between Dayton and Cincinnati, that in the 1940s and 1950s boasted one of the most respected high school basketball programs in the United States. Greatly encouraged, Lucas began pouring hours each day into the town's game during his early teens.
Lucas had become a local playground legend by age 15, in Sunset Park. Sunset Park was then a regional summer hotbed for high school, college and even some pro players. Future Cincinnati Royals teammates Wayne Embry and Oscar Robertson were visitors there. Lucas was already at almost his full-grown height of 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)by age 15, out-playing college players with his advanced game.