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Lauren Jackson named to Australia FIBA World Cup preliminary squad

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

Lauren Jackson will get the chance to play for the Australian national team for the first time in nine years after being named to the Opals’ preliminary squad for the upcoming FIBA World Cup.

The 41-year-old came out of retirement in April, playing with Albury Wodonga — her first professional-level basketball game in six years. She’s been tearing up the court since then, leading the NBL1 Eastern Conference with 32.6 points — the most of any player in any conference — and 11.6 rebounds per game.

A three-time World championship medalist — including gold in 2006 — Jackson is an Australian Basketball hall of famer, having been inducted in 2019. Jackson spent 11 seasons in the WNBA, winning two WNBA championships and three times being named MVP while playing for Seattle. She was also named the Finals MVP in 2010 and was the league’s scoring champion three times.

“I never expected to get to this point so every day I get past here is a blessing and I truly feel like one of the luckiest people in the world to be getting another shot after the way my career ended,” Jackson told the Daily Telegraph. “There’s a little bit of apprehension. I’m definitely a little bit scared and excited, but who knows what will happen with my body.

“It kind of feels like I’m a kid again vying for a position. When I found out I made it into the squad, I had a moment of shock. It’s reality now and [I’m] getting into the mind frame again of competing to wear the green and gold again.”