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John Lucas helps NMSU celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.

Former NBA coach, player and tennis star John Lucas will be the guest speaker at New Mexico State University's annual Martin Luther King Jr. scholarship breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 20, 2006.

John Lucas will be the guest speaker at NMSU's Martin Luther King Jr. scholarship breakfast on Jan. 20. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

Lucas' topic will be "From Light to Darkness to the Brightest of Lights."

"He [Lucas] has had a great influence on college students," said Festus Addo-Yobo, director of Black Programs at NMSU. "The hardships that he has overcome in his life make him an icon in the present world."

Lucas earned a bachelor of arts degree in business administration and later a master's degree in education. He also was named All-American twice in both tennis and basketball.

Lucas played in the NBA for 14 years beginning in 1976 as the Houston Rockets' number-one pick. He later played for the San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers, among others.

During his NBA career, Lucas won a public battle with substance abuse. He is fond of saying he also discovered himself in that journey. He founded a halfway house for recovering adult men and has worked as a consultant and wrote the policies for the NBA's drug treatment, education and prevention program.

He has coached for the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Lucas was recently inducted into the North Carolina Hall of Fame for tennis and basketball. He also was named the Samaritan of the Year by the Krist Center in Houston.

The annual Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast raises funds for scholarships and other student aid at NMSU. Tickets, which are $15 each, are being sold in advance and will not be available at the door.

For more information contact the NMSU Black Programs office at 646-4208.