By James Crook

170002056June 6 - Australian basketball legend Lauren Jackson has announced that she is launching her own basketball academy for teenagers with the hope of nurturing talented young players and giving them the chance to follow in the Opals captain's footsteps.

The Lauren Jackson Basketball Academy will provide 12-week programmes for people ages between 15 and 18, initially based at locations across Melbourne, such as Dandenong, Kilsyth, Knox and Nunawading, before being rolled out nationwide later this year.

"I have always wanted to give more back to the sport of Basketball and the youth of Australia." said the 32-year-old Jackson.

"This is an exciting initiative for me and gives me the chance to pass on my experience and life lessons to help youth reach their goals and dreams.

"I don't believe there are any limitations to what can be achieved personally and professionally and I strongly believe in having fun and enjoying the journey along the way."

There will also be a curriculum-based basketball improvement programme, designed by Jackson along with elite Basketball Australia coaches, for which students will gain a national qualification from completing.

Participants will also get the chance to play with the elite players of Australian basketball.

170002106Australian basketball icon Lauren Jackson has launched her own academy programme

The Academy will also feature a two-day intensive Jackson Jam Super Camp where participants will be trained by Jackson along with other players from the Opals, Boomers, Women's National Basketball League (WNBL) and National Basketball League (NBL).

Jackson herself has not played in a competitive fixture since last September after undergoing surgery on a serious hamstring injury, but she has insisted that she will make a return to competitive action before retiring from the game, but she hopes to return to action in October for the Canberra Capitals.

The 6ft 5in star has had a glittering career in which she has been named as the WNBL Most Valuable Player on four occasions, and has an array of medals, including three Olympic silver medals along with a bronze, a World Championships gold medal from 2006 and a Commonwealth Games gold medal, won in the same year at her home Games in Melbourne.

And she has even hinted at staying in the game onto Rio 2016, where she could take a sixth crack at the elusive Olympic gold medal.

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