This completes the arc of Lauren Jackson's legacy


Regardless matter the outcome of the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022, Lauren Jackson would forever be remembered as a basketball great.

Even still, it’s not shocking that a great like Jackson would have a World Cup conclusion that reads like a Hollywood screenplay.

Seeing is believing, as the saying goes.

This is the first time we’ve said goodbye

Legendary Australia Opals player Lauren Jackson’s last game was scheduled for March 31, 2016. Before announcing her retirement, Jackson had hoped to play in her sixth Olympics in Rio.

To retire at the place where it all started 19 years ago is “so strange,” Jackson told the Australia Associated Press. The sport of basketball has been my life, but now I’m declaring my retirement from it.

By that time, Jackson had already established himself as a legend in the sport across all levels, from amateur to professional teams throughout the globe. She became the youngest player ever to be nominated to a senior national team at the age of 16, and the side went on to win bronze at the 1998 World Cup. Wherever she went, she earned most valuable player honors, trophies, and titles.

However, by the middle of the 2010s, she was no longer as active due to injuries.

Many sportsmen, even those as talented as Jackson, do not get to end their careers on the high note that they had hoped for. In 2016, Jackson seems to have reached that conclusion when she announced her retirement from international basketball.

According to The New York Times, Jackson remembered, “I attempted to suit up a couple of times.” I couldn’t move because “I was in so much agony.”

She emphasized that “it was not on my terms.”

There was no time for a tearful goodbye.

It’s painful to lose the one I love, the one who gave me purpose and meaning in life.

“I’ve shed a few tears, and now I feel hollow within. But I think I’m prepared and even looking forward to whatever comes next.”

Setup for the reversal

Jackson undoubtedly didn’t realize then that one of the chapters ahead of her life, six years ahead, would feature a return to playing basketball. And yet, there she was in early February, announcing her comeback to the NBL1 with the Albury Wodonga Bandits, her local side.

After her career ended badly, she said as much to ABC.

“Basketball took a significant emotional toll on me, but today I’m a different person than I was before.”

“These pleasant vibes are lasting. I’ve got plenty of time to mend and get in shape.”

It was a long shot even then to make it on the Opals’ World Cup roster. Circumstances aligned, and in early August, following a scare in which she ruptured her complete plantar fasciitis just before the start of the NBL1 season, she was named to the Opals team that would compete in the Women’s World Cup.

When asked about his chances of making the World Cup, Jackson replied, “I don’t believe there was ever a point when I was like, ‘I’m going to make the World Cup,’ until I was really informed by Sandy.”

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Mentally, Jackson had to work just as hard to bring herself back to a state where she could play at the international basketball level as she did physically.

According to Jackson, “it was a head game” when the World Cup was over. I had to become as strong as I could to even play for Albury, and I’m quite sure I told everyone that it wouldn’t have made any difference whether I was playing for Albury or Australia.

“Initially, I had a lot of trouble getting back into playing shape after rupturing my plantar fasciitis. A few hard blows that left permanent scars. It felt like going back in time to the moment when my professional career ended for good.”

“Upon resuming peak performance, I sometimes found myself overcome with emotion. Things that, because of the emotional roller coaster I’d been on, would make me weep in an instant.”

Now she’s back
On September 22, 2022, after a long absence from the Opals’ lineup, she finally suited up to face France for the first time in her career.

When her name was mentioned during the starting lineup announcement, the fans yelled as loud as they could. When she returned to the game in the first quarter, the crowd cheered once again. They were on the verge of a riot when she took and missed her first shot, but they didn’t have to wait long before she sank a three-pointer that gave her 600 points for her Women’s World Cup career.

Jackson probably could have stopped there and done nothing else for the remainder of the World Cup and it still would have been considered a victory, just for being able to come back on the court and compete with the greatest players in the world.

This is not the end of the narrative, of course.

No, not at this time.

Finale, or showdown
It’s possible that Pau Gasol has inside information. Perhaps, in his role as the Women’s World Cup’s Ambassador and a basketball star, he could sense that a miracle tale was about to be told.

“In the same way that every championship has its own set of storylines, this one has as well. There will always be a few really remarkable and motivating tales that are shared, “Gasol stated this before Game 2 of the Semifinals.

“Personal narratives on the difficulties of human life and the costs of action. How much enjoyment they get from playing the game, how seriously they take it. In my opinion, there is a lot to enjoy even for those who aren’t already huge fans of women’s basketball.”

He said he would have liked to have heard more about Jackson’s return from Jackson herself. While he was courtside watching Australia and Canada play in the Third-Place Game, she gave him a happy ending straight out of a fairy tale.

Jackson’s teammate Sami Whitcomb said to ABC Sport after the game, “You can’t write it any better.”

A finer conclusion to Australia’s “Rose Gold” run might be written, but it would be difficult.

Jackson, 41 years old, was participating in her sixth World Cup. She went into retirement and didn’t return for nearly six years. So far, she has only scored in double digits in one game and has not played more than 14 minutes in any game save the third-place game.

See Also – FIBA | Han Xu: Proud, gifted, and a source of motivation

Here she was, in her “Last Dance,” dancing for nearly 20 minutes and providing the majority of Australia’s points in a triumph that ensured a medal.

Lauren Jackson

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A little over three minutes remained in the game, and Jackson got the ball on the left low post. She begins working with Canadian figure skater Natalie Achonwa.

At the same moment when Jackson was scoring her 27th and 28th points of the game, the message “Hoops is never done” flashed over the LED boards surrounding the court.

It’s the kind of scene that might have been ripped straight from a movie.

Canadian Kia Nurse stated after the game, “When good players start going, they get rolling.” “Obviously, she has a great deal of experience, and there isn’t much you can do about it. There’s a good reason why she’s considered the greatest player in Australian basketball history. is without a doubt, a top performer among its peers worldwide.”

“Fairytale endings are common in tournaments, and you probably know about them. This one had to have a happy ending, but we made it through. One could have thought, “Come on!” in response.”

On the next offensive play, Jackson was fouled and made both free throws to give himself 30 points. When she was taken out of the game for the final time in Sydney, the audience chanted “MVP” and stood to give her a standing ovation. Jackson and the Opals won bronze at home in front of their supporters, and they celebrated in a matter of minutes.

If this were a film, the director would now pull back and let the screen go dark as the closing titles roll.

The only difference is that we saw this in real life.

Completely revolving
Jackson revealed in the postgame news conference, “Honestly, I wasn’t even thinking” about her 30-point performance.

“Since the very first seconds of the match, I had been overcome with passion and determined to come out on top. My only motivation was to help put our squad back on top and to win for Sandy. I had no idea I had so many points, and it was all I was thinking about.”

“She’s a fairly modest celebrity, right?” Australia’s head coach Sandy Brondello added his two cents to the news conference. “Who the hell gets 30 points, anyway? As far as I can recall, I have never participated in a global contest.”

Brondello and Jackson worked together as coach and player at this World Cup, but their friendship spans over two decades, beginning when they were teammates with the Opals and continuing through their professional careers with the Seattle Storm.

When asked about Lauren, Brondello had stated, “Lauren is my buddy,” according to ESPN’s coverage of the buildup to the World Cup. “It’s crazy to imagine that I mentored her as a 16-year-old at her first World Cup in 1998 and am now coaching her 20 years later. We have a lot of respect for one other, but it’s not unusual for me since this is my job and has been for the last eighteen years and counting, ever since I retired.”

Brondello made it clear that Jackson’s inclusion on this team was not influenced by the fact that she is a legend or a friend of his, but rather by her present physical condition and the value she might contribute to the squad. What made the end outcome so rewarding is that it was possible.

It’s unheard of the amount of effort she put in to go back to playing at this level, Brondello remarked. “The team and I were both motivated by her example. She had some really strict fitness goals, and we weren’t sure whether her body could handle them.”

“Since this is a global basketball tournament, we couldn’t just give her [the roster place]. It wasn’t possible, no matter how much I wanted to, since she was a player. In retrospect, I am certain that my choice of her was correct since she was selected based on merit.”

“As a friend, I couldn’t be more pleased with her accomplishment. I didn’t only get to teach Lauren; I also got to play alongside her, and I can tell you that no athlete has ever crossed my path who was as psychologically tough as she was. We were both sobbing before the game, so I know she’s a softie off the court, but it’s her tenacity that makes her a great player in my eyes.”

“Nothing could ever alter her legacy. This is the best possible outcome for her, and I couldn’t be happier for her; she’s worked hard to be a fantastic leader for this group of women, and it shows in how much they respect and admire her.”

Just getting the bronze medal means she may die with dignity.

Unforgettable trip of a lifetime
Jackson had declared, according to The New York Times, “I don’t believe in fairy tales” following his team’s opening-round loss to France. “Honestly, I can’t. If it stops today or tomorrow, it doesn’t matter to me. That was the best ride of my life.”

Whether you consider it in the context of her whole career or just this one year-long return, it has been an incredible trip either way. As much as Jackson may not like fairy tales, this is about as near as it gets.

Jackson added during the press conference, “This trip, I’ve mentioned it before to all of you, has simply been the most humbling but fantastic ten months of my life.” “Just thank you for picking me, I said Sandy after the game, since it allowed me to play the sport I love in front of Australia one more, and to do so while saying farewell in such a fitting manner was a really great experience. It’s not anything I would have ever thought about.”

“This is beyond anything I could have imagined. Two months ago, I really doubted that she would choose me “explained Jackson, gesturing toward her head coach and close friend who was sitting next to her on the bench.

I did not believe you were going to choose me,” she emphasized to Brondello.

“What I’m feeling right now is beyond my ability to describe. Having this happen is like a fairytale. There’s no need to be sad that it’s ended. Really, it’s something out of the ordinary. In a nutshell, I’ve had the greatest ride of my life. The turnout has been incredible, making this the ideal location for the event.”

A last trip?


Jackson did display some indications of physical exhaustion when sitting at the press conference, since he had played the most minutes and attempted the most field goals in a game in the eighth and final game of the tournament. Also, she was quite emotional, even becoming teary-eyed, yet she seemed to be at peace.

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Jackson may finally end her life the way she wants to, just as Brondello predicted.

Jackson spoke on her intentions for the future after the event, saying, “I’m happy because I get to go back to my day job now and launch She Hoops which is extremely exciting.” “I feel really privileged to be able to wear the green and gold. Nothing else has ever been more crucial to me in my professional life. It’s been an honor to help get us back on top, and to do it with the amazing people of Australia.”

“It hurts, but I’m looking forward to getting back to work. Now that I’m not at work, every part of my body aches “she said, eliciting chuckles from the crowd.

Jackson gave a solid, unthinking response when questioned about her intentions for 2024 and whether or not she would contemplate making another run at the Olympics as Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi did for Team USA at the Tokyo Games.

She smiled and said, “No.”

She said, “They didn’t have two children who depend on them,” alluding to Bird and Taurasi. “My children are still quite little. The people who have helped me get here have given up a lot. I’ve been away from them for a long period during the last two months, and it’s been tough for both of us.”

I have to take care of my kids, and they need me to take care of them.