Yesterday was the culmination of years of hard work, dedication and heartbreaking setbacks for Australian basketball legend, Lauren Jackson. After being forced into retirement earlier this year because of injury, LJ had her famous #15 jersey retired in front of a packed crowd at Key Arena in Seattle.
There were tears, laughs and memories shared of the greatest basketball career the WNBA has ever seen. The video montage played to the fans was an exceptional tribute.
A video posted by The Pick and Roll (@pickandrollau) on Jul 15, 2016 at 11:49pm PDT
In what was an almost hour-long ceremony, Jackson was overcome by emotion and left speechless by the support and love received from those within the Seattle franchise. In typical Lauren Jackson fashion, on a night that was all about her she wore the jersey of her point guard and close friend, Sue Bird.
It was clear she was affected most by the words of Bird.
Every big play that comes to mind in franchise history started, ended or both, with you."
Bird continued, "Whether it was the actual shot, the screen - a la Atlanta where she basically cleared out the whole team so I could shoot it. Every big play. What you did for this franchise is you set a tone on what it meant to be the best, what it meant to be successful and what it meant to win Championships."
The ceremony included teammates and opponents saying goodbye and explaining just how grateful they were to play in the same era as Lauren Jackson.
The full ceremony can be found below.
The Seattle Storm did a fantastic job of recognising and appreciating the greatness of Lauren Jackson. That greatness cannot be underestimated; 3 MVP's and 2 Championships, with career averages of 18.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 1.4 assists per game.
Jackson's #15 becomes the first jersey retired in Seattle Storm's franchise history. A truly fitting end to a career that spanned 12 seasons and produced so much inspiration for the next generation of basketball players in the States and back home in Australia.