Basketball lost a pioneer, a legend. Lauren Jackson lost "a beautiful friend".
Jackson has paid tribute to basketball great Anne Donovan after the former player and coach died of heart failure on Thursday (AEST) aged 56.
Jackson played under Donovan at the Seattle Storm in the WNBA for five seasons and the duo delivered an historic title for the club in 2004.
Donovan's impact on Jackson cannot be understated - the former Canberra Capitals superstar was the WNBA MVP while playing under Donovan.
The basketball Hall of Famer left behind a remarkable legacy boasting a WNBA title as a coach, two Olympic gold medals as a player and another as a coach.
Jackson took to Instagram to post a series of photos including Donovan from their time together in Seattle, with one of the highlights a shot of the pair kissing the WNBA trophy in 2004.
"She started coaching me in 2003 and we just became friends straight away," Jackson said.
"On court she did a lot of extra work with me on my inside game, and off the court she became one of my closest friends.
"I don’t really know what else to say, she definitely touched me as a friend and a mentor, and was a great coach as well. She brought the best out in me and took my basketball game to another level, there is no doubt about it.
"I would never have won the MVP that year if it wasn’t for her and all the work she put in with me, which was fairly unusual for a head coach to do over in a professional league.
"Normally the assistant coaches take up that role, but she saw something in me and she worked tirelessly."
"I had a pretty big chunk of my career with her as a coach and my development as a player and a person as well. I went from being a kid under her to being a young woman. I’m just shattered now.
"We’d talked a lot recently about her coming out here and meeting Harry. I don’t really know what to say, I’m just sad."
Donovan's standing in basketball is nothing to baulk at - she will go down as one of the most influential women in the history of the hardwood.
She won two Olympic Games gold medals as a player and backed it up with another gold medal triumph as a coach in 2008.
Donovan is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, and the FIBA Hall of Fame.
"With her legacy and what she meant to basketball over in America, everyone is really hurt by it and just the outpouring of messages [show] she was just a really good person," Jackson said.
Donovan coached both in college and the WNBA, and etched her name into the history books when she became the first female coach to win a WNBA title in 2004.
That title forged an eternal link between Donovan and Jackson.
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