Q & A with Storm forward Lauren Jackson
Storm star Lauren Jackson talks about the playoffs, Storm fans, posing nude for photos and meeting Bill Russell in her regular Q&A with The Seattle Times.
Today, Lauren Jackson talks with Seattle Times Sports Editor Don Shelton about the playoffs, the KeyArena crowd and meeting Bill Russell.
Q: After losing in the first round the past few years, was there a sense of relief after clinching in L.A.?
LJ: After the game there was just a slight sense of relief. But we are so aware of how good Phoenix is. We know we have to be at our best. So the relief was very instant and then over with. Honestly, everybody else's talking about how we hadn't made it past the first round in a long time, but I don't think any one of us had focused on that at all.
Q: When did you realize this team was special?
LJ: The last few years, I felt the team has been very special. Injuries definitely held us back. (This year) when we started winning, when we got on that roll, pulling out games we probably shouldn't have pulled out. And then coming to practice, and the intensity and desire with everybody. You could just see it in everybody's eyes.
Q: How's your sprained thumb?
A: (Shrugs and holds her thumb up) I'm not taping it any more. It hurts when I catch. Or when someone hits it, I definitely feel it. But then you forget about it. ... Look I've played with a broken back. I've played with stress fractures in my shins. I've played on a broken ankle. It just happens. Once you warm up you're fine.
Q: You're back home Thursday. What does the KeyArena crowd mean?
LJ: I think it's worth 10 points here. That crowd is just phenomenal. The energy is insane. I'm a little bit zen-ish that way. You can walk in there and not slept in 24 hours, and be picked up automatically by the fans. Our fans are the greatest, without a doubt. They're passionate. KeyArena is just insane. It brings so much out of us as players.
Q: Here's a question you knew was coming. When I Googled your name ...
LJ: The naked photos came up, right? (Laughs)
Q: Absolutely. Do you regret posing for them?
LJ: I'm really happy I did it. I still look at those photos and say, 'I looked pretty bloody good.' I think they're tasteful photos and they were done for the right reasons.
It's funny, Bill Russell came to talk to us last week, and we had a photo taken together, and he said, "Am I supposed to get naked for this?" And it just occurred to me that every man in America that follows women's sports knows what my naked body looks like. So it's kind of bizarre to me. There was nothing sexual about it, other than my body, and everybody has one.
Q: What was your mom's reaction and your dad's?
LJ: When they first asked, I think I was 19 and my mum and dad said, "No! No way!" And then Mum said, "Not while your grandmother's alive." She passed away in 2000. I think they (photos) were shot in 2004. I ended up doing it and loved doing them.
Q: What was your parents' reaction after they saw them?
LJ: I really don't want to think about my parents doing that. There's something rather unnatural about it. I know they have, but I haven't talked to them about it. I'm sure my dad's mates have talked to him about it, especially when it happened, and gone, "What do ya think?" And my dad, said, "Well, that's my daughter ... "
I think they (athletes' bodies) need to be shown more. I mean, we're not models. We're just athletes who have to eat right, who have to work out every day, who have very interesting lives. But people don't see that. They only see the stereotypical athlete.
Q: You convinced me.
LJ: It isn't hard convincing men. It really isn't. It's no problem. It's more the women who aren't so happy about it. There were a lot of people who were up in arms about it. Particularly religious people. I got mail and e-mails about it. You can't do anything about offending someone.
Q: Tell me about meeting Bill Russell. Were you in awe of him?
LJ: Massively. Yeah, until he asked if he should take his clothes off. Amazing man. He talked to us about his experiences and what he thinks about the sport and how he was so successful. He was great. He said a couple of things that stuck with me for a few days.
One thing I put on my Facebook page was, "It's better to be good than lucky." Which is, I think, a very good, very good statement. What he says really rang home to me.
He's a true champion. His philosophy on the game, and winning, and things like that. He's so distinguished and he has been the best.
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