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Seattle Storm's Lauren Jackson announces her retirement from professional basketball.

Seattle Storm legend, Lauren Jackson, announced her retirement last week after dealing with injuries for several years.

Last week, Seattle Storm and women's basketball legend Lauren Jackson announced her retirement from professional basketball.  Lauren was the #1 overall pick in the 2001 WNBA Draft, selected by the Seattle Storm.  She would go on to win two WNBA Titles in 2004 and 2010; Jackson was named the WNBA Finals MVP in 2010 as the Storm swept the Atlanta Dream 3-0 to win the second championship in franchise history.  Jackson would also be named the league MVP on three separate occasions (2003, 2007, 2010).  Jackson's other WNBA accolades include: 8 x WNBA All-Star, 3 x WNBA Scoring Champion, 2007 Defensive Player of the Year, 2007 Rebounding Champion, and 7 x All-WNBA First Team.  Lauren played twelve seasons in the WNBA, all with the Seattle Storm.  She retires holding the Storm franchise record in points (6007), rebounds (2,447) and block shots (586).

Lauren was a huge success in her native country of Australia.  She won six WNBL Championships (with the Australian Institute of Sport and Canberra Capitals).  She won the WNBL MVP award on four occasions (1999, 2000, 2003, and 2004).  A two time WNBL Grand Final MVP (2006, 2010) and a five-time WNBL All-Star (1999-2004).  Jackson also won three Silver Medals (2000, 2004, 2008) for the Australian National Team in the Olympics.  And a gold medal in 2006 at the FIBA World Championships.

Unfortunately, Lauren was plagued by injuries late in her career.  In 2012, she would play her final game in Seattle as the Storm would fall short to the Minnesota Lynx in their playoff series.  In 2013, Jackson was sidelined with a hamstring injury that would require surgery.  She would miss the entire 2014 season with operations on her right knee and her left Achilles.  She had a torn labrum in late 2014 and another knee surgery in 2015, which would take her out of the 2015 season.  Jackson had another setback while training for the 2016 Australian Olympic team.  And on March 30th, 2016, officially announced her retirement.

Sue Bird on her teammate's retirement, "In many ways, Lauren's retirement is a sad thing, but it also gives all of us a chance to reflect on what an amazing career she had.  For me, it's a reminder of how thankful I am that I got to play along side her.  As a young pro athlete you go through a lot, both on and off the court, and I can't imagine going through it with anyone other than Lauren.  We accomplished a lot together on the court but it's the friendship that we built off of it that I'm even more thankful for.  She'll always be the best player this franchise has ever seen and one of the best teammates I've ever had."

Lin Dunn, Lauren's first Storm head coach, added, "Lauren is the greatest stretch 4 our game has ever seen!  Her 6'5" frame with post up and guard skills changed our game!  When you combined her with Sue Bird, there was no better dynamic duo in women's basketball.  Our game sure will miss one of the VERY best!."

Brian Agler, who was the head coach of the 2010 Championship team, added, "Lauren will go down as the most dominant player during her era.  Unfortunately, injuries shortened her career, but her play and how she influenced winning was legendary.  Lauren was highly skilled, fiercely competitive and a very loyal teammate.  I'm extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to coach Lauren .... Bottom line, Lauren Jackson was the most versatile post player to ever play the game and she set the standard to where all posts will be measured."

The Seattle Storm have created a social media campaign, #ThankYouLJ and put together a great collage of videos, career highlights and quotes from players and coaches that can be viewed here:  We highly recommend checking it out.

#ThankYouLJ - it was a true pleasure watching your entire career in Seattle and being there in person to witness your MVP and Championship seasons.  Storm fans absolutely loved cheering you on.  Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!