A three-time WNBA Most Valuable Player, Jackson will have her No. 15 Storm jersey retired in a celebration at KeyArena on July 15. She is the first player in the team's 17-year history to receive the honor.
Lauren Jackson, a three-time WNBA MVP who retired in March because of injuries, will be honored next month when the Storm retires her No. 15 jersey.
The Storm will face the Washington Mystics at KeyArena on July 15, and Jackson will attend the game and ceremony. Details haven’t been finalized, but the night is expected to be centered around the Australian.
“My years in Seattle were some of the best in my basketball career,” Jackson said in a team statement.
Few remain in the organization from Jackson’s 12-year run in Seattle.
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She last played at KeyArena in September 2012. Seattle lost Game 1 of a best-of-three opening round playoff series against Minnesota. The Lynx went on to win the series 2-1.
“Sue (Bird) and I will sit around every now and then and just reminisce,” said Storm coach Jenny Boucek, who was an assistant during Jackson’s career. “One time in practice, (players) were running down the floor and one of the guys on the practice team is missing. We look back, and there’s just blood everywhere, and he’s keeled over and ends up in the hospital. You look back at Lauren, because you knew it was her, and she has that face we all know because she just (accidentally) got him.
“Another time, we needed a defensive stop against Houston. … She blocked three shots all in one possession. Then, on the other hand, hits four threes in a row. She could just take over.”
Jackson announced her retirement in March due to multiple injuries preventing her from making a WNBA comeback. The most troublesome is a knee injury suffered in February 2014, which caused her to miss that WNBA season.
Her primary focus became an attempt to return to the Australian national team for a would-be fifth Olympic Games in Rio this summer. But a setback forced Jackson, 35, to retire.
Jackson, a 6-foot-6 post, averaged 18.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, playing her entire career for the Storm, leading it to WNBA championships in 2004 and 2010.
“My missing her has almost fell dormant because it’s been so long,” said Bird, who hasn’t seen Jackson in person since 2012. “Now that I’m actually going to see her, there’s a lot of emotion coming up. A lot of my favorite memories as a player are passes that, I don’t know how she did it, were suction cups in her hands and she’d finish it. That was great for me, obviously.”
Jackson was 19 when drafted by Seattle with the No. 1 overall pick in 2001. In addition to the WNBA championships and MVP titles, Jackson was a seven-time All-Star, three-time scoring champion, the 2010 Finals MVP, and the 2007 Defensive Player of the Year.
The Aussie ranks seventh all-time in WNBA points scored (6,007), ninth in career rebounds (2,447) and third in total blocks (586).
The WNBA named its top 20 all-time greatest and most influential players Tuesday. Jackson was one of seven Storm players on the list.
“She paved the way for Australians to play in the WNBA because of her reputation,” said Storm forward Jenna O’Hea, who won an Olympic bronze medal with Jackson in London. “And she hasn’t been here since 2012, but people still ask me most days about her. Lauren created such a legacy here – her legacy in Australia is huge – but America is the mecca, and she’s done massive things. (July 15) is going to be very emotional.”