John Harding Lucas (born October 31 1953 in Durham, North Carolina) is a retired American professional basketball player and coach.
Lucas attended the University of Maryland where he was an all-American in basketball as well as tennis. He played for the US national team in the 1974 FIBA World Championship, winning the bronze medal. He played in the NBA for fourteen years and was a member of the 1986 Houston Rockets team that made the NBA Finals, in which they lost to the Boston Celtics. However, that off-season his career took a turn for the worse when longstanding drug problems became known. Several Rockets teammates, including Mitchell Wiggins and Lewis Lloyd, were banished from the NBA due to positive cocaine tests. Lucas, also a cocaine user and alcoholic, submitted voluntarily to treatment and thus was not banished; however, the addiction effectively ended his playing career.
After successfully undergoing drug rehabilitation, and starting programs of his own to help other athletes rehabilitate, Lucas returned to the NBA as a coach. He has coached the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers and Cleveland Cavaliers, each for less than two seasons, compiling a 174 - 258 overall coaching record. Prior to accepting the head coaching position for the Cavs, he was assistant coach for the Denver Nuggets for three seasons.
His eldest son John II, after finishing his college basketball career at Oklahoma State, played with the Rockets, while his younger son, Jai, attended Bellaire High School in Bellaire, Texas and now plays college basketball at the University of Florida.
Lucas was not only a standout basketball player, but also a standout tennis player. Lucas played World Team Tennis and returned to it in 2005 as the head coach of the Houston Wranglers, which featured Steffi Graf and Mardy Fish.
Lucas worked with Toronto Raptors guard T.J. Ford in Houston after the guard sustained a neck injury from a hard foul from Atlanta's Al Horford. The Raptors, impressed with Lucas's work, are contemplating hiring him as a consultant to ease Ford's transition back into the player rotation.