Jackson feels right at home in familiar territory

Jackson feels right at home in familiar territory

For basketball superstar Lauren Jackson it only seems like yesterday she was suiting up for the Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits' maiden appearance in the SEABL, writes Steve Smith in The Border Mail.

In reality though, it’s been more than three years since that fairytale first game and while the Border club has endured some tough times since, for Jackson, it’s all been a whirlwind.

The Opals skipper has crammed a second WNBA most valuable player award, dominant performances in the US, Russia and South Korea and the heartbreak of yet another Olympic silver medal into a hectic schedule that leaves her cherishing every spare moment she can get when she comes home to Albury-Wodonga.

Jackson attended the Bandits’ home double-header on Saturday night and admitted coming back to the Albury Sports Stadium always reminded her of why she loved playing basketball.

“It’s always good to be home, I always just love coming back,” Jackson said.

“I’ve done another season overseas and time has just flown by but I’m back home again and it’s great.

“The seasons do seem to blur together after a while, it only seems like yesterday I was heading back to the US after my last break and it’s a whirlwind but I’m having a lot of fun.

“At the end of the day it’s a lot of fun though. Even tonight, watching the two Bandits teams was fun.

“Coming back here to the stadium brought back some of my earliest memories of watching my dad play for the Bandits and even training here whenever I come home.

“I just have a very close affiliation with the stadium and the people here and there’s a lot of reminders of my childhood here.

“I definitely feel great to be here and I just love coming back and I was thinking as I was walking in that I couldn’t believe that it has already been three years since I played for the Lady Bandits.

“It’s been a long three years but I’ve had a lot of fun.”

Jackson also spoke of her happiness at re-signing with the WNBA’s Seattle Storm and being able to finish her decorated playing career with the one team.

“I’m very happy to be staying in Seattle, I love it there,” Jackson said.

“It would have been different to see and experience something new over there but I’m very lucky to be one of those athletes to have a long affiliation and legacy with just the one team and I’ve been very fortunate to have that.

“I want to finish my career there and that’s not something every athlete has a choice or a say in.”

Photo courtesy of Ray Hunt for The Border Mail