AUSTRALIA’S greatest ever female basketballer has fufiled the most remarkable of returns to the sport, with Lauren Jackson joining the Southside Flyers for the upcoming 2022/23 Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) season.
At 40 years of age, Jackson returned to the NBL1, playing for the Albury Wodonga Bandits in the East Women’s competition, and is a clear favourite for the MVP in that league. Her form yielded selection for the Opals in the upcoming World Cup series, and the run continued earlier this morning, when she was announced to be joining the Flyers in Australia’s premier basketball competition.
An icon of the sport, Jackson has one of the most decorated resumes in her nation’s sporting history. Her awards include four WNBL MVP awards, five WNBL championships, three WNBA MVP awards, and two WNBA titles.
Jackson retired from professional basketball in 2016, largely due to a persistent knee injury. However, those worries seem to have eased with the superstar in some serious form and reigniting her already impressive career.
Speaking to the media following the announcement, Jackson expressed her excitement at getting her body right and reigniting her love for the sport.
“When I started serious training again back in November last year, I took it slowly, as I knew I had to get as strong as I possibly could. I honestly didn’t know if my body was going to hold up to the intense training, but it has and I’m feeling great,” Jackson said on her decision to return to the WNBL with the Flyers.
“It has been an incredible year, firstly having the opportunity to play in my home community with the Albury-Wodonga Bandits and then being selected in the Opals squad for the World Cup and now making a return to the WNBL, Australia’s top women’s basketball competition. I am really enjoying this opportunity and feel the comeback is now complete.
“Obviously I am looking forward to once again playing for the Opals and now, with this decision, it is beyond September, and I am excited to be a part of the Flyers team and working with the players to help them with their games and of course make us a better team,” Jackson added.
Flyers coach Cheryl Chambers echoed these sentiments, expressing her joy in welcoming a terrific character to the squad.
“We are thrilled that Lauren has chosen to play for the Flyers. I know how much work she has put in to be back at this level and we are excited to be part of her comeback to the WNBL and know how incredible she will be for this team, on and off the court. I know our players are looking forward to playing alongside her and learning from her phenomenal experience, she will be an inspiration to all,” Chambers said.
The WNBL season is set to kick off in November.