Storm star Lauren Jackson still owns a place in Seattle and readily professes her love for the city and fans, so don’t think her taking time to re-evaluate her priorities is anything about the Storm, teammates, the WNBA, money, or even media. Well, I hope media isn’t included.
When I interviewed Jackson upon return from surgery, she was as mellow as I’ve ever seen her. Losing the gold medal game to Team USA on a numb right ankle crushed her. So much so that she said she hadn’t even let it all sink in. Since she’s the type of player to zone in on one team in pursuit of championships she knows she can win, it’s understandable that she needs a break. Seriously, how many of us could travel from country to country and experience everything from family deaths to championships and injuries and just keep going? I know I’d need longer than two weeks here and there.
That’s why Jackson, 27, was partly happy about her break for arthroscopic surgery. She was in Sydney with family and friends and technology kept her close to everything back in her second home, Seattle.
“The Internet is a wonderful thing,” she said.
ESPN broadcaster Linda Cohn told me that “you should never Google yourself,” but apparently Jackson never heard that advice. She said she did get bored one day and when an old friend brought over dinner, the two decided to start Google-ing away. This popped up, which I know most of you’ve seen:
There’s also this response:
Well, aside from knowing NBA star Yao Ming is married because Jackson played with his wife, the Aussie couldn’t believe her eyes. And you know me; I had to ask about it when I caught her alone before Game 1 of the playoff series against Los Angeles.
“You can find some really hilarious stuff on the Internet,” Jackson said. “When we came across this Yao Ming thing it was like, ‘Oh…My…God! When I tell you we were in hysterics…because anybody who knows me knows that would be the last thing on my mind. A 7 foot 8 Chinese man? That’s just not my thing.
“I really respect him as a player. And people who know me know I can be wild and over-the-top. I’m affectionate and that night I guess I was affectionate with the wrong person. I guess the Chinese people don’t do that stuff very often, so the cultural [differences] was a big thing. But I don’t care. You have to laugh about things or you’ll be crying, which I would probably have been doing anyway [because of the loss and surgery]. I made the most of my last night at the Olympics and had a great time.”
And just so you’re clear, that so-called adoring look has nothing to do with love, according to Jackson.
“There’s one photo where I’m looking at him – not in awe – it was, ‘Agh, I’m so tired and a little bit drunk,'” Jackson said. “It’s not a loving look at all. None of us slept for 24 hours. It was a long month that came to a disappointing end.”
Of course Jackson had to do a little searching for the video. When you plug just her name into Google’s search engine, her Sports Illustrated bathing suit spread is the first image that pops up. Then there’s a link to those now famous nude photos done prior to the Athens Olympics for an Australian photo magazine.
“That’s pretty funny, too,” Jackson said. “Instead of being known for my basketball skills, all of these nudie shots are always the first thing you see. But the Yao Ming thing was pretty hilarious. I showed my Mom and my whole family and it was just hilarious. It crosses those cultural boarders and we [Aussies] do things differently. I’m lucky other stuff hasn’t been searched out and posted.”
Jackson is headed back to Australia next week to complete some work for sponsors and visit with family again. She expects to be in Russia for the Spartak opener on Oct. 16, plenty of time to find more stuff on the Web.