Is it time for Canberra to formally recognise Lauren Jackson’s greatness?

Tim Gavel 9 September 2021 46
Lauren Jackson playing basketball

Lauren Jackson is recognised worldwide for her contribution to basketball, and the time has come for Canberra to formally do the same. Photo: Basketball Australia.

This week, Lauren Jackson received yet another accolade in recognition of her incredible basketball career.

No, it wasn’t in Canberra where she was instrumental in leading the UC Capitals to four WNBL titles, along with the championship won in 1998 while she was part of the all-conquering AIS team.

Jackson was instead named in the WNBA’s top 25 players in the league’s 25-year history.

Previously, in 2006, she was named in the top 10 players of the WNBA’s first decade.

If nothing else, this latest accolade prompts a reflection on Jackson’s achievements in the strongest women’s basketball competition in the world.

During her WNBA career with Seattle Storm, which began in 2001, Lauren accumulated honour after honour. In fact, there wasn’t an award she was eligible for that she didn’t win: two WNBA titles, WNBA MVP, WNBA Finals MVP, WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, WNBA All-Star team, and the list goes on.

This week’s recognition comes on top of being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, becoming the first Australian player to be elevated to this honour. Fellow Australian Lindsay Gaze was inducted in recognition of his coaching record.

When Jackson was told she would be inducted into the US basketball hall of fame earlier this year, she explained to American news network NBCSNW that she was overwhelmed at becoming the first Australian player to be afforded the honour.

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When she retired from the WNBA, her number 15 jersey was retired and hoisted to the rafters at Seattle Storm’s home stadium, Climate Pledge Arena.

In Australia, Jackson’s record is even more impressive, winning five WNBL titles, WNBL MVP four times, being a WNBL All-Star five times, and a four-time WNBL Grand Final MVP. In 2003, she was the league MVP in both the WNBL and the WNBA.

She led Australia to three silver medals at the Olympics and a world title in 2006. The following year she was named MVP in the Korean Basketball League.

I would argue Jackson boasts one of the greatest records in world sport in terms of making an impact on that particular sport.

She is arguably ‘the Bradman of women’s sport’, yet in Canberra – where she joined the AIS as a 16-year-old before taking on the world – there is little recognition.

In Albury, Jackson’s home city, there is a basketball stadium named in her honour.

We have recognition for plenty of male athletes in Canberra, and it’s about time we seriously looked at how we can honour one of the greatest athletes Australia has ever seen.

The impact Jackson had on Canberra basketball makes it even more relevant.

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46 Responses to Is it time for Canberra to formally recognise Lauren Jackson’s greatness?
John Moulis John Moulis 10:52 am 15 Sep 21

The only thing about her that I remember was the ad on the side of buses where they digitally removed her tattoos. That seems to be her only connection with Canberra. Many people believed that she was some kind of local sporting superstar but it was all in their imagination.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 12:23 pm 15 Sep 21


    She was born and raised in Albury has planned to settle back there with her partner and family. As a professional sportsperson she worked in Canberra for a few years but spent more of her playing career overseas.

    I’ll bet that some people on this blog would hope that Alan Jones could be digitally removed from adverting spaces on buses like her tatts were.

    TimboinOz TimboinOz 1:45 pm 15 Sep 21

    She did help raise the idea that Canberrans might be swots, but also loved sport.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 4:43 pm 15 Sep 21

    Swots? What does that mean?

William Brooks William Brooks 10:25 am 15 Sep 21

She's not from The Berra so why would we ?

Patty Mills is though.

Bob Jackson Bob Jackson 7:55 am 15 Sep 21

Fabulous pedigree. Fantastic junior programme graduate. Had the pleasure of coaching against her as a junior. Brilliant talent and in some ways ahead of her time.

Tim Mak Tim Mak 8:06 pm 14 Sep 21

Just name a suburb and/or sports centre after her, and it’s good.

Sarah Young Sarah Young 7:43 am 14 Sep 21

Absolutely, but Canberra's track record for support of their local basketball teams, let alone recognition of female sports stars, is dismal, or need I remind you of the demise of the Canberra cannons?

Michael Moriarty Michael Moriarty 7:03 pm 13 Sep 21

The day after leading the Australian Womens Basketball team to Gold at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games she was serving sausage sandwiches at her old club in Wagga Wagga.

Raymond Millikin Raymond Millikin 11:53 am 13 Sep 21

Knock over Menzies statue on the lake and replace with one of Lauren Jackson

    Raymond Millikin Raymond Millikin 9:01 pm 13 Sep 21

    Shane Jasprizza more affection for Lauren Jackson. Very little for Pig Iron Bob.

bridget murphy bridget murphy 9:54 am 13 Sep 21

There’s already a stadium in her name plus There’s heaps of things that can be renamed in Canberra, name a main road after her the next highway we build here

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:02 am 13 Sep 21

    We could call the rainbow roundabout in Braddon after her, too.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 9:32 am 13 Sep 21

Her Albury connection is much stronger that her Canberra one so let’s not get too carried away with our expectations:

Tracy Lee Tracy Lee 9:03 am 13 Sep 21

Yes, she has always been and still is awesome

Darryl Fernance Darryl Fernance 11:27 pm 12 Sep 21

Lauren and her AIS team were the youngest ever WNBL team to win the Championship in 1999. I was at the AIS arena that night and witnessed the spectacle and photographed the game and the celebrations.

Jez Wheeler Jez Wheeler 8:35 pm 12 Sep 21

Michelle Heyman had a mural painted in Braddon for Mardi Gras. We should have a permanent LJ and Patty Mills mural somewhere. Both have inspired the little ballers of Canberra for many years now!

Sharon O'Rourke Sharon O'Rourke 8:14 pm 12 Sep 21


Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 7:50 pm 12 Sep 21

Can’t believe this hasn’t already happened

Robyne Mitchell Robyne Mitchell 7:02 pm 12 Sep 21

Well there is a fabulously large oil painting of her in Fyshwick at the Artists Shed

Michael Langridge Michael Langridge 6:33 pm 12 Sep 21


Garry James Garry James 6:24 pm 12 Sep 21

The Goat 🐐

Aaron Still Aaron Still 5:17 pm 12 Sep 21

Of course

Adele Craven Adele Craven 4:52 pm 12 Sep 21

Awesome portrait of Lauren looking for a good home.

Kerrie Buitendam Kerrie Buitendam 4:18 pm 12 Sep 21

Yes over due

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