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Lauren Jackson was in the middle of one of her only games for the past two years when the lightning bolt of justification hit her coach Carrie Graf.
Jackson, playing through the pain of knee injuries and needing fluid drained before, during and after games, stepped up and knocked down a three-pointer that proved crucial in a Canberra win.
That's when Graf immediately turned to a man sitting in the stands and said: "that's why we're sponsoring her."
The man was ActewAGL chief executive officer Michael Costello, who stumped up the majority of cash for Jackson's $1 million third-party deal that was cruelled by injuries.
It was a glimpse of Jackson's best, which has rarely been seen in recent years as she contemplated retirement and hobbled on and off the operating table.
It was also a glimpse that should be enough for Australian Opals coach Brendan Joyce to know that even a 50 per cent fit Jackson can be an asset to an Olympic Games gold medal bid.
Sport is a cruel and fickle world. Very few athletes and coaches get to go out on their terms. Injury, a lack of form or torn up contracts usually dictate when it's time to retire.
Over the next month Jackson will find out whether she gets to farewell basketball on her terms, or if the injury nightmare that has haunted her for almost four years gets to have the final say.
The WNBA, WNBL and European champion will work with Opals coach Brendan Joyce and officials over the next month to determine if there's enough of a glimmer of hope to push forward to the Rio Olympics.
At the moment, running up and down the court against the world's best players seems like a faint goal following multiple surgeries and her knee ballooning to double its regular size.
But while there's the smallest shimmer of light peering through the darkness, Jackson deserves the right to chase one last tournament, and here's why:
- Five WNBL titles and four most valuable player awards;
- Two WNBA championships and three most valuable player awards;
- Four Olympic medals - three silver and one bronze;
- Titles in Russia and Korea and a 20-year legacy that started as a teenager.
How can you begrudge Jackson for pushing through the next month to see if it's possible to come back? Why should she be forced to call it quits right now?
Imagine you're an Olympic rookie trying to continue the Opals' proud streak of winning a medal at every Games since 1996 and you see Lauren Jackson looking back at you.
Imagine if you're playing for another country, the game is tight, and you look at the opposition bench and there's Lauren Jackson taking off her jacket to enter the game for the game-winner.
There's no risk of Jackson being a passenger if she makes the flight to Brazil. Her reputation, her determination and her aura will make sure she has an impact in whatever way possible.
That might be five minutes a game compared to the 40 minutes Opals coaches of the past have demanded of her.
It might be more. It might be less. But when a gold medal is on the line, you can bet anyone in women's basketball will throw the ball to Jackson.
Jackson's journey over the past four years has been long and frustrating.
She signed the biggest contract in Australian women's team sport history in 2011 to play three of five seasons in Canberra up until the 2015-16 WNBL campaign.
Graf stands by the deal as a landmark moment for female athletes, even though Jackson's involvement was limited to a handful of games.
There have been detractors along the way who questioned whether it was worth the investment, given her injury history and struggles to overcome knee problems.
It also took a toll on Jackson's mentality as she pushed herself to get back on the court, knowing Canberra had invested in her and the Capitals needed her on the court at the lowest point in the club's history.
When the realisation hit that her WNBL career was over, it all suddenly changed the outlook.
Instead of the week-to-week pressure to be on the court, Jackson could focus on one goal - the Olympics.
"I'd love to go to Rio. I'll do whatever I can to have fun with it," she said.
Graf said during Jackson's career she became "conditioned to her greatness" as she travelled the world, won titles and dominated every competition she played in.
In recent years the injury battles have overshadowed the greatness as fans and teammates wondered when or if Jackson would be back on the court again. Jackson often wondered the same thing, taking the fun out of the bid to make a comeback.
Either way she'll go down as Australia's greatest female basketballer and will be remembered as one of the world's best.
It's now in the hands of the sports gods, who often take pleasure in cutting down an athlete before they're ready to go out.
But, for a moment, imagine Jackson lining up against Team USA in the gold medal match with the same fire she had as an 18-year-old that left Lisa Leslie's hair like a "dead rat" on the court 16 years ago.
"That would be an amazing fairytale," Graf said.