Home » Basketball’s GOAT calls it quits as Australia makes Olympics

Basketball’s GOAT calls it quits as Australia makes Olympics

Basketball legend Lauren Jackson, a key player for the Opals, helped secure Australia’s spot in the Paris Olympics before announcing she won’t play at the Games, bringing down the curtain on one of the greatest international careers in hoops history.

A trademark stint* from Jackson played a pivotal* role in Australia’s dominant* 85-52 Olympic qualifying* victory over Germany on Sunday.

The Opals great was the oldest player on the court at 42, but you wouldn’t have known as she went to work to send her country to yet another Olympics.

Jackson finished with nine points, three rebounds* and three assists, as all signs pointed to a fifth Olympic campaign for the GOAT of Aussie hoops.

Just when Basketball Australia officials started planning tickets for Paris, the girl from Albury dropped a major post-game surprise, revealing* she won’t be playing at this year’s Games.

“I’m done … I love Brazil, Brazil has been very good to me,” Jackson said.

“How fitting that I get to finish my national career with Australia in Brazil. It’s very special.”

Jackson’s declaration sent shockwaves through the basketball fraternity, given many expected her to play in Paris to finish off her stellar career.

Instead, it’s believed she has opted to put family first, with her son starting school this year, among other commitments*.

Jackson walks away from the international scene as a four-time Olympian*, winning four medals in the process, including three straight silver medals.

She started out as a teenager at the Sydney 2000 Olympics and went on to become one of the best ever to don the green and gold – in both women and men’s competition.

Jackson was also part of the 2006 World Cup winning side – the only Opals or Boomers team to win a gold medal at a major tournament.

Eighteen months ago, Jackson made a stunning comeback* at the 2022 World Cup in Sydney, playing a vital role off the bench to help the Australians win a bronze medal.

The Australian great star also thanked the Opals supporters post-game in an emotional address.

“Thank you to all the Opals fans over the years,” she said.

“The girls are going to be incredible at the Olympics, I’m just so proud of them and I’m privileged to be here.”

Earlier, a Tess Madgen shooting masterclass and the rise of rookie Isobel Borlase helped the Opals beat Germany to punch their ticket to this year’s Paris Olympics.

The Australians showcased their class to comfortably dispose of the understrength* Germans, with three players scoring in double figures in a dominant victory.

Madgen was magnificent, dropping a game-high 15 points, including a perfect three of three from beyond the arc.

The Opals skipper set the stone with her pinpoint shooting and dogged defence, while she also had six rebounds and three assists.

Australia also showed us a glimpse of the future via a cast of young players who look built to don the green and gold.

The sight of veterans like Madgen, Jackson and Cayla George on the same court as emerging stars Borlase, Jade Melbourne and Steph Reid was a defining generational* moment for the Opals.

Debutant* Borlase is only 19, but she looked comfortable on the international stage, finishing with 10 points.

The Adelaide Lightning guard, who led the Under 19s Gems to a silver medal at last year’s World Cup, is destined* to have a long career for Australia.

The same can be said for Melbourne. The 21-year-old Canberra Capitals and Seattle Storm guard also contributed six vital points for the Opals.

Australia face Serbia in its final qualifying game on Monday from 10am (AEDT), but their place at the Paris Games is booked in.

VIDEO

GLOSSARY

  • trademark stint: a distinctive period of time with notable characteristics
  • pivotal: of crucial importance
  • dominant: having control or influence
  • qualifying: meeting the requirements to participate
  • rebounds: recovering the ball after a missed shot in basketball
  • commitments: promises or obligations
  • Olympian: a participant in the Olympic Games
  • comeback: a return after a period of inactivity
  • understrength: having fewer members than needed
  • generational: relating to different generations
  • debutant: a person making a first appearance in a sport
  • destined: meant or fated to do something

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. What age is Lauren Jackson in the story, and how many points did she contribute to the game?
  2. Which country did Lauren Jackson express her love for and mention as the place to finish her national career?
  3. How many points did Tess Madgen score in the dominant 85-52 victory over Germany?
  4. Why did Jackson decide not to play in the Paris Olympics, according to the story?
  5. In the recent qualifying game against Germany, which young player, only 19 years old, demonstrated promise for a bright future by contributing 10 points?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Retirement shock
Some people wonder why Lauren Jackson wouldn’t have continued her winning form by playing with the Australian Opals at the Paris Olympics in only five months time.

Put yourself in her shoes, what might her reasons be to continue playing on until the Olympics, or to retire immediately as she has?

Lauren’s List
Continue playing:

Retire now:

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Health and Physical Education, Personal and Social, Critical and Creative Thinking

2. Extension
If you had to use one word to describe Lauren Jackson and her incredible basketball career, what would it be and why?

Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Health and Physical Education, Personal and Social, Critical and Creative Thinking

VCOP ACTIVITY
Writing activity: the magical basketball adventure

Imagine you are a basketball superstar, just like Lauren Jackson. Write a short story about your magical basketball adventure leading up to the Olympics. Use different types of sentences to make your story exciting and interesting.

Statement sentence: Write a sentence stating your goal for the basketball game.
Example: “I wanted to play my best and help my team win the game.”

Question sentence: Create a question about the unexpected twist in the story.
Example: “What surprise did Lauren Jackson reveal after the game?”

Command sentence: Give a command to your teammates or fans.
Example: “Cheer loudly for the team and let’s celebrate together!”

Exclamation sentence: Express your feelings about winning the game.
Example: “What an incredible victory! We did it!”

Complex sentence: Combine two sentences about Lauren Jackson’s achievements.
Example: “Although she won three straight silver medals, Lauren Jackson is considered one of the best basketball players ever.”

Dialogue sentence: Write a sentence as if you are talking to Lauren Jackson.
Example: “I asked Lauren, ‘Why won’t you be playing at the Paris Olympics?’”

Remember to use exciting words and details to make your story come to life. Re-read your work and check it is clear and makes sense. Can you edit and up-level any of your writing to be more engaging to the audience?

Share your story with someone in the class.

Be creative and have fun with your magical basketball adventure!