For the first time in 12 years, three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson will suit up for the Australian national women’s basketball team at a FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.
The tournament, which will take place in Sydney beginning Sept. 22, marks her first appearance on that stage since 2010. Jackson retired from international basketball nine years ago, and in 2016 she retired from basketball altogether due to a knee injury.
From there, the four-time Olympic medalist moved into basketball administration for the WNBL’s Melbourne Boomers. She later joined Basketball Australia, helping to oversee the league and women’s hoops in the country.
She made her comeback to professional basketball in April, suiting up with Australia’s Albury Wodonga Bandits.
New York Liberty and Australia national team head coach Sandy Brondello made the announcement Tuesday, telling Jackson in a video call that was posted on social media. The two formerly played together on the national team.
A moment in 𝐇𝐈𝐒𝐓𝐎𝐑𝐘 🤩Head Coach of Australia @SBrondello tells legendary @laurenej15 that she will play with the Opals at her 5th World Cup 🥲#FIBAWWC x @BasketballAUS 🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/AHwr2k6Ne2— FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup (@FIBAWWC) August 9, 2022
A moment in 𝐇𝐈𝐒𝐓𝐎𝐑𝐘 🤩Head Coach of Australia @SBrondello tells legendary @laurenej15 that she will play with the Opals at her 5th World Cup 🥲#FIBAWWC x @BasketballAUS 🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/AHwr2k6Ne2
“Congratulations, Lauren Jackson, you’re going to another World Cup,” Brondello said. “You should be incredibly proud, Lauren. And I am incredibly proud, because what you did to achieve this, it really is amazing. It shows a lot about you as a person and your hard work and dedication.
“It’s not your first one, but hopefully it’ll be a great one.”
Jackson, who was choked up and a bit speechless at the news, said that she “didn’t honestly know” if her body will hold up through the intense training regimen she undertook for her comeback.
“But it has and I’m feeling good,” she said.
Others named to the team include WNBA players Bec Allen and Sami Whitcomb (New York Liberty), Ezi Magbegor and Steph Talbot (Seattle Storm) and Kristy Wallace (Atlanta Dream).