Lauren Jackson doesn't want injury to ruin hopes of playing one-on-one with her future children

Basketball champion Lauren Jackson has spoken of her desire to be able to play one-on-one with her future children as she walks the line to the Olympic Games while keeping one eye on her post-career quality of life.

Lauren Jackson accepts a farewell gift on Friday night.
Lauren Jackson accepts a farewell gift on Friday night. Photo: Jay Cronan

Jackson will be eased back into strength training during the next month before returning to the court as she works with Australian Opals coach Brendan Joyce to keep her Rio bid alive.

Basketball Australia has offered its support to Jackson to help her get fit as well as making sure she does not retire with injuries that will affect her post-playing days.

Lauren Jackson signs photos for fans.
Lauren Jackson signs photos for fans. Photo: Jay Cronan

Jackson wants to have a family when she decides to end her career after dedicating the past 20 years to becoming Australia's greatest female basketballer.

"Absolutely I want to have a family ... If I don't do some work to get my knee strong, regardless of what happens with the Olympics, I'm not sure if I'd be able to play one-on-one with my kids in the backyard," Jackson said.


"That's something I experienced in my childhood and I loved. I definitely want to be able to share with my children [in the future]. Whatever sport they might choose, I want to be a part of it and be active.

"Basketball Australia is giving me an opportunity for life after sport and an opportunity to get to Rio."

Fitness first: Lauren Jackson wants to make it to Rio, but also wants to be able to play one-on-one with her future children.
Fitness first: Lauren Jackson wants to make it to Rio, but also wants to be able to play one-on-one with her future children. Photo: Matt Bedford

Jackson was farewelled by Canberra Capitals fans at the AIS Arena on Friday night, officially finishing a 17-year relationship with the club she helped turn into a WNBL powerhouse.

She spoke to fans and signed autographs for one of the last times as an athlete in Australia as she winds down a glittering career that has seen her win WNBL, WNBA and Euro League titles as well as Olympic medals.

The 34-year-old will continue to fight for a chance to make it to her fifth and final Olympics, but the pain in her knee will determine whether she can go on.

Jackson combined with coach Carrie Graf to win the Capitals' first championship in 1999-00, and went on to claim another four grand final wins in her Canberra career.

The club is now at its lowest eb, suffering the worst losing streak in Capitals history and dealing with the absence of Jackson and the impending departures of Graf and Jess Bibby.

Jackson said not being able to play after signing the biggest contract in Australian women's team sport history had taken a mental toll on her.

She credited Graf with "changing the face of women's sport" and said the regeneration of the Capitals would be "massive".

"Graffy built this club to get it to the dynasty we had. The last couple of years have been tough and I've had a lot to do with that by not being able to play," Jackson said.

"I'm sure the WNBL will be back on TV soon ... it's been a great run. I am confident the Capitals can get back to where they were. The partnership with the University of Canberra is massive."

The Capitals face a period of uncertainty as they search for a new coach and a marquee player to fill Jackson's sizeable shoes.

"In sport, like all things, there's a start and the end. The Capitals program has been wonderful prior to my time and Lauren's time here," Graf said.

"The team's won seven championships in the last 17 years. A lot of teams would love that record.

"But sometimes when things bottom out, it's a great springboard to move forward. I think it's poised to kick up another level, and move forward bigger and better than it's ever been."