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Jackson to appear at 5th Olympics for Australia’s Opals. Mills, Giddey in Boomers team

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Basketball star Lauren Jackson will compete at her fifth Olympics after being selected in Australia’s 12-player squad on Sunday just four months after again coming out of retirement.

The Opals, Boomers and the 3×3 teams were announced by Chef de Mission for the Australian Olympic Team in Paris, Anna Meares in Melbourne on Sunday, with Jackson widely expected to be named, alongside men’s team veterans Patty Mills and Joe Ingles for a fifth Olympics appearance.

Jackson, 43, retired for the second time in February after helping Australia qualify for the Paris Olympics by beating Germany in Brazil, revealing she struggled to spend so much time away from her two young sons.

But the three-time WNBA MVP was coaxed back into the fold a month later and was included in a 26-player training squad in March.

Already one of Australia’s most-storied athletes, Jackson’s selection Sunday marks an incredible return to the Olympic arena 12 years after playing at London 2012. She medaled at each of her four Olympic appearances and was the flag bearer for the Australian team at the London Games.

“The last time I was doing this I was the star so I didn’t have to worry about being selected,” said Jackson, who played 12 seasons for the Seattle Storm. “I’m not anymore; I’m the role player, had to work to make sure I got selected. I’m so proud of myself.”

The No.3-ranked Opals are grouped in Pool B in Paris and will play host-nation France (No.7), Canada (No.5) and Nigeria (No.12).

The Boomers team includes eight of the Tokyo Olympic bronze medallists including Mills and Ingles, with former Cleveland Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova, Dallas Mavericks pair Dante Exum and Josh Green, Jock Landale of the Houston Rockets, Portland Trailblazers’ Duop Reath and Nick Kay.

Josh Giddey, the Oklahoma City Thunder star recently traded to the Chicago Bulls, is one of four Olympic debutants for the Boomers.

“It’s an absolute honour to represent my country,” the 21-year-old Giddey said. “To be part of the Boomers legacy, well it’s everything. We have a really great group, we know what we need to do and we are just ready to get into it.”

Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons was not selected as he continues to recover from back surgery in March.

The Boomers’ opponents in Paris are still to be finalized, with the Australians drawn in Pool A with Canada and the winner of the Olympic qualifying tournaments in both Greece and Spain, due to finish later Sunday.

“These squads have a great mix of experience and youth, with leaders, legends and the next generation combining to give all three teams a great opportunity to go deep in the Paris 2024 tournaments,” said Meares, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in track cycling.

“Congratulations to all 28 athletes selected today. I want to pay special tribute to Lauren, Patty and Joe for joining Andrew Gaze as basketball greats who will compete at five Olympic Games.”

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Australia women’s team: Rebecca Allen, Isobel Borlase, Cayla George, Lauren Jackson, Tess Madgen (captain), Ezi Magbegor, Jade Melbourne, Alanna Smith, Stephanie Talbot, Marianna Tolo, Kristy Wallace, Sami Whitcomb.

Australia men’s team: Dyson Daniels, Matthew Dellavedova, Dante Exum, Josh Giddey, Josh Green, Joe Ingles, Nick Kay, Jock Landale, Jack McVeigh, Will Magnay, Patty Mills (captain), Duop Reath.

Australia women’s 3×3 team: Anneli Maley, Lauren Mansfield, Alex Wilson, Marena Whittle.

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AP Summer Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games

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