Australian basketball star Lauren Jackson has announced her retirement on Thursday following her ongoing knee injuries and surgeries.

The 34-year-old player said that she would take an immediate retirement from the game as her chances of participation in the Rio Olympics 2016 has ended because of her injuries and treatment. She was surrounded by her friends and Opals teammates when she made the announcement at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.”It really is so surreal retiring here, where it all began for me 19 years ago,” Jackson said as quoted by 9News.

“Today, I’m announcing my retirement from the love of my life – basketball. It took me all over the world, gave me friendships that will last forever, so thank you for everyone for being here – thank you to Jan and Brendan and Basketball Australia – for giving me this opportunity to say goodbye.”

Five interesting facts

  • She is a 6’5’’ forward and centre player. She won three Olympic silver medals in 2000, 2004, and 2008 along with one bronze medal in 2012 with the Opals.
  • Jackson was born to Gary Jackson and Maree Bennie in NSW’s Albury. She started playing basketball at the Albury Sports Centre when she was four. She made her international debut in 1995. She was the first woman to carry the Australian flag at the Olympic Games.
  • The player was recognised as the Most Valuable Player for the Seattle Storm on three occasions held in the American WNBA Finals in 2010.
  • She won four times for the Canberra Capitals in WNBL, Australia.
  • Jackson emerged as the long-time partner of All-Star player Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm in 2002.

Jackson has been anticipating the Rio Olympics 2016, but her severe knee issues did not allow her to continue with basketball. “Two years ago I hurt my knee playing in China … I had to have surgery – I pulled my meniscus out of the root of my bone, and I’d never had issues with my knees before so I thought I’d be back playing pretty quickly … My knee ended up degenerating really, really fast, and I got arthritis pretty quickly, and since then I’ve had multiple surgeries trying to get back for the teams that I play with, obviously the Canberra Capitals and the Opals,” the ABC quoted her as saying.