How do you see the image of women's basketball changing over the years?
Well I think the game has evolved. A lot of the younger players that are coming through now are very athletic, tall and strong. That in itself changes the sport and it is fun to have been a part of that. Seeing the younger women in Australia come through the system and head overseas to take on the world is so much fun to watch.
Which basketball players do you admire?
Number one would have to be my mum. She captained Australia in the 1970s and also was one of the first Australian women to enter the NCAA program with a scholarship with Louisiana State University. She definitely was one of the pioneers of the sport. Also Robyn Maher, Michelle Timms and Shelley Gorman, who were part of the 1996 bronze medal team in Atlanta. I was fortunate enough to play with them as a youngster and their work ethic and mentalities definitely made me a better player.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I know it’s a cliché but “follow your dreams” is something that has always been stuck in my head. My parents never put any limitations on me when I was a child in terms of what I wanted to be when I grew up. When I was two and told my auntie that I would play for Australia one day (to everyone’s amusement), nobody said I couldn’t. When the opportunity came for me to leave home and start playing professionally my dream ultimately came true!
What are you passionate about apart from basketball?
I have a lot of things I love doing. I am passionate about music and am getting my degree through Macquarie University in Sydney which is definitely testing at times but truly worth it. I’m also the patron of the NSW Rape Crisis Centre which I am very passionate about and the work they do there is so important in our communities. I am just proud to be a part of an organisation that is actively trying to prevent domestic violence within our country.
You’ve travelled the world for your sport where has been your favourite place to play, and why?
Well I live in Seattle half of every year (except this one of course) so I would have to say there. The city itself is beautiful and the people have taken me in as one of their own. I have really enjoyed playing in South Korea and I made a lot of lifelong friends there. I spent a few years playing in Moscow and it was definitely an experience I will never forget as their culture is so different from ours and the history just blew me away. I am very excited though, I have just signed a deal to play with the Canberra Capitals for three of the next four years. I have to say it makes me happy to be playing at home!
Anywhere in London you want to visit?
I think during the Olympics I will be so focused on our team and trying to be as prepared as possible to get to (and hopefully win) the illusive gold. My family and friends will be there so I’m sure that I will spend a little bit of time with them during our free time, though we play every second day so the schedule demands us to focus on one thing.
How do you like to relax when you’re not in training?
Music and books. I enjoy alone time where I can just do nothing. That is very rare but when it happens I feel totally rejuvenated.
You alternate your home base between Spain and the USA. What do you love about both countries?
This is my first year in Spain and I have been in America coming up 12 years. Seattle, like I said before, has become my second home. I am just comfortable there. Same language, I am used to getting around on my own, that sort of thing. It is definitely hard adapting to new countries, I have been in Valencia now three months and I know how to get to the stadium, the petrol station and the supermarket. I don’t have a very good sense of direction. Fortunately, I have some good friends here who help me out when needed. The country itself is beautiful, we travel by bus around Spain in the Spanish league so I get to see a lot of the countryside, and our team’s fans are very passionate about the club, which makes it a lot of fun to play - which to me is the main thing.
Lauren Jackson has Basketball in her blood. At an early age, Lauren demonstrated a passion for the game, which has led to a career of achievements split between national and international competition. Already an Olympic veteran Lauren hopes to captain the Australian Opals to the illusive Gold medal victory in 2012.