Australian basketball superstar Lauren Jackson will return to the court in 2022, suiting up for the first time in six years since her retirement in 2016 due to a serious knee injury.
Jackson will play for her hometown team in the Albury Wodonga Bandits in the NBL1 East competition, and will ironically play in the stadium named after her, in the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre.
"When I played in America and Europe, overseas living the dream, there were times when I just wished I played for Albury at home, so it's a bit of a dream come true," Jackson told News Corp.
"I haven't really played for eight years and I haven't played a game yet so I've got no idea what to expect."
"After a couple of months of playing NBL1, who knows how I'm going to feel, what I'm going to be doing or how I'll be playing, it's a complete unknown."
𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐆𝐎𝐀𝐓 𝐈𝐒 𝐁𝐀𝐂𝐊 🐐😍
— NBL1 (@NBL1) February 1, 2022
The 40-year old is one of the greatest female players in basketball history and her resume speaks for itself.
The Australian superstar is in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, has won two WNBA championships, three WNBA MVP's and seven WNBA All-Star appearances.
In Australia, Jackson won five WNBL championships with the Australian Institute of Sport and Canberra Capitals where she was the MVP in four of those finals series. She also collected four WNBL MVP awards, five WNBL All-Star five appearances and represented the Opals at four Olympic Games.
Jackson's comeback to basketball opens the door for a potential Opals comeback as well, with the FIBA World Cup around the corner in Sydney in September, whilst also having the backing of Opals coach Sandy Brondello.
The news of fellow WNBA star Liz Cambage claiming she has "zero" interest in returning to the Opals program after her withdrawal from the Olympics last year, further opens the door for Jackson to replace her in the Opals squad.
Albury Wodonga Bandits President Luke Smith is as excited as anyone to see Jackson return to play in her hometown.
"We're just over the moon that Lauren's playing for her hometown and her home club," Smith said.
"It's huge for the Albury Wodonga Bandits and for the Albury Wodonga community."
"I think it's going to be a really big year and we're really looking forward to her playing in a stadium named after herself and in front of her friends, family and her two boys."
"They're at the age where they'll be able to remember seeing their mum play, not only basketball, but basketball at home too."
Jackson will make her home debut for the Bandits on April 9th against Illawarra in her very own Lauren Jackson Sports Centre to kick off their 2022 NBL1 campaign.