Aussie basketball legend Lauren Jackson has once again announced her retirement, mere minutes after the Opals booked their place at the Paris Olympics.
The Opals have booked their place in Paris after blowing Germany away 85-52 to go 2-0 in the Olympic qualifiers in Brazil.
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The 42-year-old Jackson played 16 minutes with nine points, three rebounds, four assists and a steal to prove she’s still got it as Australia rampaged to victory.
The Opals were led by Tess Madgen’s 15 points, Bec Allen and debutant Isobel Borlase’s 10 points and Alanna Smith’s eight points, eight assists as they ran up a score against Germany, blowing out the game 54-24 by halftime.
It left the remainder of the game essentially a victory lap for the Australians, but no one expected Jackson’s reveal after full-time.
Asked by the Brazilian MC about making a fifth Olympic Games, Jackson said: “Not for me, no. I’m done.”
Jackson, who was part of Australia’s only World Cup winning side in Brazil in 2006, said she was happy to be finishing in the country.
“I love Brazil, Brazil has been very good to me,” Jackson said.
“How fitting that I get to finish my national career with Australia in Brazil. It’s very special.”
Jackson later added on Instagram: “When I say this has been a privilege, I mean it.”
Speaking after the match, Michelle Timms was stunned by news.
“I’m in a bit of shock because in her two games playing for Australia in Brazil has been fantastic and she’s been in the best shape she’s been in in a couple of years,” Timms said on ABC Radio.
Timms said the decision wouldn’t have come lightly, adding: “She has two little boys she obviously loves dearly and being a single parent, I think maybe being over there without her kids was a realisation that she didn’t want to be at the Olympics and being without them for so long.”
Timms added that it may also be a sign that her knee isn’t holding up as well as expected.
Basketball journalist Tom Hersz tweeted: “These qualifying games in Brazil will be the last time she wears an Opals jersey. What an amazing run by the greatest player we’ve ever produced! #ThankYouLJ”.
The shock reveal comes as it appeared certain that Jackson would return for a fifth Olympics, in what would have been her first since the 2012 London Games and her 2016 retirement.
However, fans will be hoping Jackson’s latest retirement won’t stick either, having twice pulled the plug, only to once again pull on the jersey.
After retiring in 2016, Jackson came back in 2022 to star in the 2022 World Cup in Australia, which saw the Opals claim bronze.
Jackson scored a game-high 30 points and seven rebounds in what was believed to be her final match in Australian colours.
Her career looked set to be done in early 2023 after she tore her Achilles in her WNBL tribute match.
But she once again came out of retirement to help Australia Olympic campaign — maybe just one more time LJ?
A seven-time WNBA All-Star, two-time WNBA champion, three-time WNBA MVP, Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, four-time Olympic medallist (three silver and a bronze) and with an honour list a mile long, if this is it for Jackson, she retires as arguably the greatest basketballer Australia has ever produced.
Originally published as ‘I’m done’: Lauren Jackson retires minutes after Opals book Olympic spot