In 1999, a teenage Lauren Jackson burst on the scene as a member of the Austrian Opals by introducing herself to Lisa Leslie. One of the founding members of the WNBA in tournament game that the USA was hosting, by elbowing her in the rib cage and followed it up with some trash talk in Leslie’s face. Jackson would go down with the injury was unable to participate in the Final against the USA, which ended in a loss for Australia. Jackson made her point with her scoring, tough defensive against Leslie, and also showed she wouldn’t be intimidated by Leslie either. After the game, an 18-year-old Jackson was quoted by the San Jose Mercury News
I’m not going to set back and let some Lisa Leslie go at me. I don’t really care was she says to me because one day, I’ll be as good as her.
Jackson statement was very bold by the future Hall of Famer, but not outlandish by the 18-year-old at the time. Jackson was slated to be the clear cut number one pick when she decided to enter the WNBA Draft. Jackson would continue to make headlines leading into the 2000 Olympics in Sydney Australia. For example, there was an article in the LA Times, stating Jackson was able to put the ball on the floor and drive ball to the hoop in a way Lisa Leslie could not.
I think the potential is there for Lauren Jackson but right now, Lisa Leslie is the best player in the world said, Dawn Staley.
Lisa Leslie followed up with:
I think Lauren Jackson is a good player. A good young player. She has more talent probably than any other 19-year-old playing in the world right now.
Fast forward to 2001, Jackson was taken with the number one pick for the Seattle Storm. From there for the next 12 seasons, Jackson dominated the WNBA going, on to win two WNBA Championships with the Storm. She is a former three-time WNBA MVP and a seven-time All-star during her WNBA Career. Since she played her last game in a Storm in 2012, Jackson has been the standard for players her size and similar skill sets. Ellena Della Donne was compared to Jackson early on in her career because of her 6’6 frame and her ability to dominate on the offensive and defensive end.
Someone else, who has been compared to Jackson more than ever has been reigning regular season MVP and Finals MVP Breanna Stewart with her being the new face of the Seattle Storm.
There haven’t been many coaches that had the opportunity to coach both Jackson and Stewart, but former Storm coach and current Dallas Maverick assistant coach Jenny Boucek shared the difference and the similarities between the two.
They are both very similar. I think Stewie is more likely to watch film, and talk things through and Lauren just wanted to play. Lauren did not want to talk about a lot of things beforehand she just wanted to get to the gym and shoot.
So, she would put up hundreds of shots, while Stewie is a hard worker, but she wants to talk about things on a strategic level and watching film. They are very similar in the way they play, I think Lauren had a little more power on the inside, and Stewie is a little bit better with her dribbling skills than Lauren. Lauren was a 40 percent three-point shooter, and Stewie goal was to get around that percentage. I don’t know what her shooting percentage was this past season.
Lauren was a little bit better down low and Stewie is better with her dribbling skills, but versatility is what makes both of them so special. They are both high-level competitors, crave pressure, are champions, and great teammates. They are kind of teammates that players want to play with and they are both winners.
The Seattle Storm currently have an 8-6 record and is second in the Western Conference. The Storm will take on the New York Liberty at 3 p.m. EST on Wednesday.