Seattle Storm’s Lauren Jackson No. 15 Retired
The Seattle Storm’s Lauren Jackson No. 15 retired Friday night after a 80-51 win against the Washington Mystics. They had a formal ceremony that included teammate Sue Bird and head coach Jenny Boucek toasting Jackson’s playing days and watching her jersey raise to the rafters.
Jackson, a two-time WNBA champion with the Storm in 2004 and 2010, came to Seattle when she was 19 years old and spent her entire playing career there. Her jersey is the first number to be retired by the Storm in their 16 year history. Now, Jackson’s No. 15 will hang in KeyArena rightfully so by the championship banners she helped win.
The former number one draft pick hadn’t been in Seattle since her last game in the 2012 WNBA playoffs against the Minnesota Lynx. Jackson said, “It doesn’t feel like it’s been four years. I wasn’t sure I was going to get to get back here. But having the opportunity to come back and retire here is probably the most important thing I’ve ever done.”
Jackson was plagued with injuries as her career progressed and these injuries prevented her from returning to the WNBA. In March, she announced her retirement which concluded an impressive professional career.
Head coach Jenny Boucek was glad that Jackson could make the trip back to Seattle to give everyone a chance to celebrate her career. “I think it’s great for everybody to have a chance to say goodbye to Lauren,” said Boucek. “I know that’s something that we’ve all wanted to do since we knew that she wasn’t going to be able to come back and play.” Now head coach, Boucek was an assistant coach through much of Jackson’s career.
An Australian native, Jackson is a three-time MVP and the only player born outside of the US to be win this award. In her 12 year career, she ranks in the top ten in points (No. 7), blocked shots (No.3), and rebounds (No. 9). In 2006, she was named to the WNBA’s all decade team as one of the league’s top 10 players. Earlier this season, she was included on the WNBA’s 20 at 20 which honored the greatest and most influential players as a celebration of the league’s 20 year mark.
Jackson got the opportunity to thank the Storm organization and the KeyArena fans at the ceremony. They watched her grow into one of the best players in the world and one that should still be playing the game. She is seven months younger than Bird who is still playing strong. If Jackson’s body hadn’t given out on her it’s safe to say she would still be on the court dominating the game.
Despite how things ended, Jackson accomplished so much in her WNBA career and for Seattle. Bird acknowledged how much Jackson meant to her and the city saying “how things had to end hurts me. I know it hurts you and it hurts me as well. I just want you to know that what you did here, what you did for me, what you did for all these people… I know it didn’t end the way you wanted, but don’t let that change all that you did here.”