Australian professional basketball player. She is often called LJ or Loz. She is a forward/centre with the Seattle Storm of the WNBA, the Australian national team The Opals and, until 2006, the Canberra Capitals of the Australian WNBL. She has won national championships in the U.S., Australia, and Russia, and a world championship as well. She is widely considered to be the best Australian female basketball player of all time and one of the best players in the world.
Both Jackson's parents, Gary and Maree, represented Australia in basketball and she took up the game at the age of four. A teenage prodigy at Murray High School, Albury, she moved to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra as a teenager. She played for the Australian women's team, the Opals, in 1997 as a 16-year-old. She led the Australian Institute of Sport team, made up of the country's best 16- to 18 year-old players, to a premiership in the WNBL Women's National Basketball League, the Australian women's professional league, in 1998-1999 - an unprecedented achievement for a youth team. Ineligible to continue with the AIS team, she joined the other Canberra-based team, the Canberra Capitals, and led them to four titles in 1999-2000, 2001-02, 2002-03 and 2005-2006.
When Jackson declared for the WNBA Draft in 2001, she was an automatic first selection to the Seattle Storm, where she has played ever since.
During her rookie season she led the Seattle Storm in points with 15.2 rebounds with 6.7 and blocks with 2.21 per game
The 196 centimetre (6'5") Jackson is very effective in offence, combining her height with a good shooting percentage — even from three-point range (she led the WNBA in three-point percentage in 2004). Earlier in her career, her defence was perhaps the weaker aspect of her game, but that area has also improved, as Jackson received the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2007. She is a leading defensive rebounder and shot-blocker in the WNBA.
In 2003, despite the fact that the Seattle Storm did not make the playoffs, she was voted as the WNBA's Most Valuable Player that season.
In 2004, her Seattle Storm team won the WNBA Championship by defeating the Connecticut Sun, two games to one. She was runner-up for the MVP award in that year and again in 2005.
In April 2006, she signed a three-year contract to stay with the Storm.
On 24 July 2007, Lauren scored a WNBA record 47 points (tied with Diana Taurasi, in triple-overtime) in a 97-96 overtime loss to the Washington Mystics at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. She also set the record for the most field goals in a game, with 18 made.
On 6 September 2007, Lauren won her second MVP award. She led the league in both scoring (23.8 points per game) and rebounding (9.7) and was second in the league in blocked shots (2.0) as well as leading the WNBA in double doubles with 17. She was also named Player of the Week 5 times capping off a stellar season.
In the offseason leading up to the 2009 season, Jackson signed a free-agent deal to return to the Storm.
Jackson was reportedly paid over $100,000 to play a few games with a Russian club before the 2005 WNBA season.
In the 2003 Russian League Season, Jackson played for UMMC Ekaterinberg, however saw limited court time. The decision by the coach to not utilise Jackson's prowess and presence on court was widely criticised by other coaches, and caused confusion among players. However, Jackson has defended the coach's decision, saying that in Russia, regulations exist where there has to be a certain number of Russian players on court at any given time.
Jackson decided to leave Australia after the 2005-06 WNBL season. While she had huge offers from clubs in Russia, she opted instead to sign a three-year deal with a Seoul, Korea-based club Samsung Bichumi in South Korea's national league. Although she would not earn as much money in Korea as she could in Russia, her salary was higher than what she could earn in Australia. More importantly, Korea's season runs only from mid-December to early March, about half the length of the European season, and clubs in the league only play two games a week. She indicated that Korea's shorter season was the main reason that she decided to sign-up there, noting that it would likely prolong her career. She won the Korean league's MVP award in 2007.
In 2007, Jackson signed up to play alongside Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird for WBC Spartak Moscow Region in the Women's Russian A Super-league, helping it win the championship over CSKA Samara in five games. Jackson continued to play with Spartak for the 2008 and 2009 seasons, winning the title again in 2008.
In the offseason of 2009, Spartak Moscow released Lauren Jackson and Lauren is now playing for the Canberra Capitals of the WNBL of the Australian league.
Jackson posed nude in an Australian magazine, Black+White, that featured Olympic athletes who were set to compete in Athens in the 2004 Summer Olympics. The expensively printed magazine/book has been produced for the last three Olympic Games and, by the 2004 edition, was considered relatively uncontroversial in Australia with its "artistic" approach to nude photography and its equal coverage of male and female athletes. Jackson also posed for the 2005 edition of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Jackson is a fan of the Wests Tigers rugby league club with her grandfather being a former player for the Western Suburbs Magpies.
Jackson works for domestic violence charities and helping children from Australia's outback get involved in sport.
Jackson is studying for a psychology degree at Lomonosov Moscow State University and will continue via correspondence from America. She wishes to work in social work after her basketball career.
Women Athletes for Basketball