‘Honoured and humbled’: Jackson’s Aussie first

The legendary Lauren Jackson has received the ultimate honour as the first Australian player to be inducted into the prestigious Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Jackson’s status as Australia’s greatest player is now cemented as she joins hoops greats like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal in the hall of fame.

As Australia’s most successful basketballer, her achievements include a seven-time WNBA All Star (2001-2003, 2005-2007, 2009) and three-time WNBA most valuable player (2003, 2007, 2010) with the Seattle Storm.

Jackson has a playing resume stacked with achievements, championships and accolades, including leading Seattle to WNBA Championships in 2004 and 2010 and collecting WNBA Finals MVP honours in 2010.

In 2007, she was named the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year while leading the league in rebounding and points per game.

Lauren Jackson has joined hoops royalty like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant in the basketball hall of game. Picture: Christian Petersen/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images

Jackson was also named a member of the WNBA’s All Decade Team in 2006 and in the Top 20 Players in the league’s 20-year history in 2016.

She joins coach Lindsay Gaze (2015) as the only Australians to be bestowed with this honour.

“I am extremely honoured and humbled to be named in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2021,” said Jackson, who is Basketball Australia’s head of women in basketball.

“To be recognised alongside such esteemed members of the basketball fraternity in the Class of 2021 is mind-blowing, and then the prospect of being inducted into the prestigious Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame with legends and pioneers of our sport is just surreal.

“Growing up I could only have dreamt of having the career that I have had, and I am thankful every day for the experiences and opportunities that basketball has given me.

“I’m just a girl from country NSW who worked hard to be the best I could be, and if that inspires others to follow in my footsteps and chase their own goals and aspirations, then that’s the most enriching award I can receive.

“To everyone who has played a role in my life and basketball career to date, all I can say is ‘thank you’ from the bottom of my heart; this hall of fame honour is as much yours as it is mine.”

Jackson was named alongside nine inductees, including ninth-winningest coach in NBA history Rick Adelman, two-time NBA champion and 11-time NBA All-Star Chris Bosh, NBA Finals MVP and 10-time NBA All-Star Paul Pierce, the first black NBA head coach Bill Russell, four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and NBA champion Ben Wallace, five-time NBA All-Star and NBA Rookie of the Year Chris Webber, two-time NCAA national champion Villanova coach Jay Wright, and seven-time WNBA All-Star and dual Olympic gold medallist Yolanda Griffith.

Opals legend Lauren Jackson is the first Australian player inducted into the basketball hall of fame.Source:Supplied

She was also a superstar of the Australian WNBL as a five-time All Star (1999-2004), four-time MVP (1999, 2000, 2003, 2004) and four-time grand final MVP (2002, 2003, 2006, 2010).

With the Australian national team, the Opals, Jackson is a three-time Olympic silver medallist (2000, 2004, 2008), won gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and six months later claimed an elusive gold medal at the 2006 FIBA World Championships.

Jackson was inducted into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019.

She was named the Australian International Player of the Year five times (1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2008), the AIS’ “Best of the Best” in 2005, had the Albury Sports Stadium renamed in her honour, was inducted into the Basketball NSW Hall of Fame in 2011 and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in the 2015 Queen‘s Birthday Honours.

LAUREN JACKSON CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
4× WNBL MVP (1999, 2000, 2003, 2004)
4× WNBL Grand Final MVP (2002, 2003, 2006, 2010)
5× WNBL All Star (1999–2004)
7× WNBA All Star (2001–2003, 2005–2007, 2009)
3× WNBA MVP (2003, 2007, 2010)
2× WNBA champion (2004, 2010)
3× WNBA scoring champion (2003, 2004, 2007)
WNBA Finals MVP (2010)
WNBA rebounding champion (2007)
WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award (2007)
7× All WNBA First Team (2003–2007, 2009, 2010)
All WNBA Second Team (2008)
2× All Defensive First Team (2007, 2009)
3× All Defensive Second Team (2005, 2008, 2010)
3× WNBA Peak Performer (2003, 2004, 2007)
WNBA‘s All Decade Team (2006)
WNBA‘s Top 15 Team (2011)
WNBA Top [email protected] (2016)
No. 15 retired by Seattle Storm
Australian Basketball Hall of Fame (2019)

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