Storm legend Lauren Jackson set to play for Australia at age 41
MELBOURNE, Australia — Australian basketball great Lauren Jackson is set to rejoin the national team at age 41 in a bid for another world championship medal.
Jackson was a seven-time WNBA All-Star for the Seattle Storm. She led Australia to a world championship title in 2006 and won four Olympic medals.
Jackson hasn’t played for the Opals for nine years but was tempted to return for a World Cup on home soil in September.
Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper on Tuesday quoted Jackson saying she will join the Opals in camp in Canberra next week. She tweeted the article, as did Basketball Australia.
“It kind of feels like I’m a kid again vying for a position,” Jackson told the newspaper. “When I found out I made it into the squad, I had a moment of shock. It’s reality now and getting into the mind frame again of competing to wear the green and gold again.”
The 6-foot-5 Jackson retired before the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics because of recurring knee problems but returned to Australia’s domestic league earlier this year.
“I never expected to get to this point, so every day I get past here is a blessing and I truly feel like one of the luckiest people in the world to be getting another shot after the way my career ended,” Jackson said.
“I’ve been very cautious … not to get overexcited or put any pressure on myself. It’s been a really long journey but every milestone that I’ve hit, I’ve gone ‘I didn’t think I’d get to this point.’ ”
Jackson was a three-time league scoring champion and won two WNBA championships with the Storm; she was named WNBA Finals MVP in 2010. She also won league titles in Australia, Spain and Russia as well as three Olympic silver and one bronze, plus a gold and two bronze medals at the world championships.
“With my size, height and experience in the game I think what I can bring to the team is invaluable in terms of leadership,” she said. “Once I step foot on a basketball court, I’m pretty confident. It just comes naturally and has always just been part of who I am.
“I know I can bring that confidence to the girls.”