May 17, 2021 | WNBL news

Australian sporting icon Lauren Jackson’s status as one of basketball’s greatest ever players was further cemented overnight after being named in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2021.

Jackson will become the first Australian athlete to be inducted as a player into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, which honours players who have shown exceptional skill at basketball, all-time great coaches, referees, and other major contributors to the sport.

Speaking from her home in Albury (NSW), Lauren Jackson AO said: “I am extremely honoured and humbled to be named in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2021.

“To be recognised alongside such esteemed members of the basketball fraternity in the Class of 2021 is mind-blowing, and then the prospect of being inducted into the prestigious Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame with legends and pioneers of our sport is just surreal.

“Growing up I could only have dreamt of having the career that I have had, and I am thankful every day for the experiences and opportunities that basketball has given me.

“I’m just a girl from country NSW who worked hard to be the best I could be and if that inspires others to follow in my footsteps and chase their own goals and aspirations, then that’s the most enriching Award I can receive.

“To everyone who has played a role in my life and basketball career to date, all I can say is ‘thank you’ from the bottom of my heart; this Hall of Fame honour is as much yours as it is mine.”

Currently Basketball Australia’s Head of Women in Basketball, Jackson remains Australia’s most successful basketballer whose achievements include a seven-time WNBA All-Star (2001-2003, 2005-2007, 2009) and three-time WNBA most valuable player (2003, 2007, 2010).

Jackson has a playing resume stacked with achievements, championships and accolades including leading the Seattle Storm to WNBA Championships in 2004 and 2010, while collecting WNBA Finals MVP honours in 2010.

In 2007, she was named the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, while leading the league in rebounding and points per game. Jackson was also named a member of the WNBA’s All Decade Team in 2006 and the Top 20 Players in the league’s 20-year history in 2016.

As a superstar of the Australian WNBL, Jackson is a five-time All-Star (1999-2004), four-time MVP (1999, 2000, 2003, 2004) and four-time Grand Final MVP (2002, 2003, 2006, 2010).

With the Australian national team, the Opals, Jackson is a three-time Olympic silver medalist (2000, 2004, 2008), won gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and six months later claimed an elusive gold medal at the 2006 FIBA World Championships.

Jackson was inducted into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019. She was named the Australian International Player of the Year five times (1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2008), the AIS’ ‘Best of the Best’ in 2005, had the Albury Sports Stadium renamed in her honour, was inducted into the Basketball NSW Hall of Fame in 2011 and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Basketball Australia interim Chairman John Carey said: “On behalf of Basketball Australia and the Australian Basketball community, I want to congratulate Lauren (Jackson) on her thoroughly deserved inclusion in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2021.

“Lauren is Australia’s greatest ever basketballer and a true pioneer of women’s sport.  No other Australian basketballer has achieved the level of success that Lauren has, and her pending induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame is a reflection of her incredible accomplishments.

“The significance of this recognition cannot be understated, it’s a landmark day for Australian sport, and it’s only fitting that Lauren is set to become the first Australian athlete to be inducted as a player into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.”

Jackson joins coach Lindsay Gaze (2015) as the only Australians to be bestowed with this honour.

In addition to Jackson, this year’s class includes nine honourees from the North American and Women’s committees: ninth-winningest coach in NBA history Rick Adelman, two-time NBA champion and 11-time NBA All-Star Chris Bosh, NBA Finals MVP and 10-time NBA All-Star Paul Pierce, the first Black NBA head coach Bill Russell, four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and NBA Champion Ben Wallace, five-time NBA All-Star and NBA Rookie of the Year Chris Webber, two-time NCAA national champion Villanova coach Jay Wright, seven-time WNBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Yolanda Griffith.

The Class of 2021 Enshrinement festivities will begin at Mohegan Sun on Friday, September 10 with the Enshrinement Tip-Off Celebration and Awards Gala. The Class of 2021 and returning Hall of Famers will then journey to Springfield, Mass. for the annual celebratory events taking place at the newly renovated Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on September 11.

Lauren Jackson Career Highlights
4× WNBL MVP (1999, 2000, 2003, 2004)
4× WNBL Grand Final MVP (2002, 2003, 2006, 2010)
5× WNBL All-Star (1999–2004)
7× WNBA All-Star (2001–2003, 2005–2007, 2009)
3× WNBA MVP (2003, 2007, 2010)
2× WNBA champion (2004, 2010)
3× WNBA scoring champion (2003, 2004, 2007)
WNBA Finals MVP (2010)
WNBA rebounding champion (2007)
WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award (2007)
7× All WNBA First Team (2003–2007, 2009, 2010)
All WNBA Second Team (2008)
2× All Defensive First Team (2007, 2009)
3× All Defensive Second Team (2005, 2008, 2010)
3× WNBA Peak Performer (2003, 2004, 2007)
WNBA’s All Decade Team (2006)
WNBA’s Top 15 Team (2011)
WNBA Top 20@20 (2016)
No. 15 retired by Seattle Storm
Australian Basketball Hall of Fame (2019)