Lauren Jackson has completed her comeback to international basketball with the 41-year-old named in Australia’s 12-strong Opals team for next month’s FIBA Women’s World Cup.
Jackson, who last played professionally in 2015, was forced into retirement on the cusp of the Rio Olympics as chronic knee injuries plagued the latter stages of her illustrious career.
The incredible feat marks Jackson’s fifth World Cup appearance after last contesting the tournament in 2010.
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Lauren Jackson will return to Australia’s World Cup line-up after a 12-year absence. (Getty)
Opals head coach Sandy Brondello informed Jackson of her selection via an emotional video call.
“I’m incredibly proud because what you’ve done to achieve this really is amazing, it shows a lot about you as a person and the hard work and dedication [you show],” she said.
“You’ve earnt this so much with what you’ve done on court
“We didn’t know what was possible when we started this journey together, but I never doubted you, it was just whether your body could hold up and it has and that’s a credit to you and your staff that have put the time into it.
“It’s a really remarkable comeback.”
Opals legend Lauren Jackson. (Stefan Postles/Getty Images)
The four-time Olympian and three-time WNBA MVP appeared speechless at the news.
Jackson kick-started her return in February this year, playing in the second-tier NBL1 competition for her hometown, the Albury-Wodonga Bandits.
With Jackson injected into the line-up, the Opals squad is stacked with international experience. Guard Shyla Heal is a notable omission from the team.
Heading into a home World Cup in Sydney, the Opals are ranked No.3 in the world. Having drawn Group C, their pool matches will include France, Serbia, Japan, Mali and Canada, beginning September 22.
The Opals will be looking to add to their full set of World Cup medals – Jackson featuring in the green and gold when Australia last claimed gold in 2006.
2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Australian Opals team: Bec Allen, Sara Blicavs, Darcee Garbin, Cayla George, Lauren Jackson, Ezi Magbegor, Tess Madgen, Anneli Maley, Steph Talbot, Marianna Tolo, Kristy Wallace, Sami Whitcomb.
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