Jackson, who last played for the Storm in 2012, is the Storm’s all-time leader in scoring (6,007), rebounding (2,447) and blocks (586).
In Australia, Lauren Jackson is the greatest female basketball player the country has produced.
In Seattle, the towering Aussie became the most dominant player in Storm history while guiding the franchise to two WNBA championships.
On Wednesday, the 34-year-old superstar ended a 15-year career after failing to fully recover from successive knee surgeries and complications.
“Today I’m announcing my retirement from the love of my life, basketball,” she told reporters in Australia. “Two years ago, I hurt me knee playing in China. It wasn’t a terrible injury, but it was enough — I pulled my meniscus out of the root of my bone.
“I didn’t think it was a big deal. Nobody did. My knee ended up degenerating really, really fast. I got arthritis pretty quickly, and since then I’ve had multiple surgeries.”
Jackson last played for the Storm in 2012 and missed the past two seasons because the knee injury. She had hoped to recover and play in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
She announced her retirement at the Australian Institute of Sport, which is the training facility for the country’s Opals women’s national basketball team.
It was fitting place to end a Hall of Fame career considering that’s where it began 19 years ago.
Storm fans have always understood they had to share Jackson with her native country.
Still, her retirement reverberated throughout the franchise and a tight-knit Seattle basketball community that adopted her like family.
“I’m not sure I have the right words to describe what today means,” Storm point guard Sue Bird said in a team statement. “In many ways Lauren’s retirement is a sad thing, but it also gives all of us a chance to reflect on what an amazing career she had.
“For me, it’s a reminder of how thankful I am that I got to play along side her.”
Selected first overall by Seattle in the 2001 WNBA draft, the 6-foot-5 post player ranks sixth all-time in the WNBA in points scored (6,007), eighth in rebounding (2,447) and third in blocks (586) – all Storm records.
Jackson was named to the WNBA’s All-Decade Team in 2006, and at the 2011 WNBA All-Star Game she was named one of the top 15 players in the league’s then-15-year history.
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She poured in a then-WNBA single-game scoring record 47 points, on 18-of-28 shooting, on July 24, 2007 at Washington.
Jackson won the WNBA MVP award in 2003, ‘07 and ’10 to become one of three players to accomplish the feat. She’s an eight-time WNBA All-Star, seven-time All-WNBA first-team honoree and was named the 2007 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year.
“I believe Lauren is the most dominant player the WNBA has ever seen,” Storm coach Jenny Boucek said in the team statement. “We are grateful for her incredible impact on the franchise, the city of Seattle and the game.”
Jackson led the Storm to its first WNBA title in 2004 when she led the league in scoring with 20.4 points per game and averaged 6.6 rebounds.
In 2010, she averaged 20.5 points and 8.3 rebounds while carrying Seattle to its second title and earning the WNBA Finals MVP award.
Paired with Bird, Jackson formed one of the most dynamic duos the sport has seen.
“We accomplished a lot together on the court, but it’s the friendship that we built off of it that I’m even more thankful for,” Bird said. “She’ll always be the best player this franchise has ever seen and one of the best teammates I’ve ever had.”
Jackson began her basketball career at 16 with the Australian national team.
She helped the Opals win silver at the Sydney, Athens and Beijing Olympics, before claiming bronze at London — where she was also the Australian flagbearer at the opening ceremony.
On her Twitter account, Jackson posted a picture of her standing beneath a street sign with her name and a caption that read: “Goodbye X.”