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Lauren Jackson: you’re a jerk

Probable one-hit wonders the New Boyz are likely to see that song be their current hit “You’re a Jerk.” Though it’s thin on lyrics it’s large on beat and hook, and I like the tune.

But this past week, when I hear it I think of Australian Lauren Jackson at some point during the chorus. That’s because the 6-foot-5 center continues to string fans along, even 19 days before WNBA camp begins, as to what team she’ll sign with.

Back in January Jackson, who has played all eight of her WNBA seasons with the Seattle Storm, announced that she was unsure whether or not she’d play for the league this summer. With the big money she’s been getting in Russia this winter, and the fact that her home country WNBL will move to a summer schedule in a few years, Jackson didn’t know if she was interested in American pro ball anymore.

In March, Jackson told an Australian radio station that she would indeed play in the WNBA this summer, and was looking at both the Storm and the Phoenix Mercury. There were people like myself, who are big on loyalty, who didn’t understand how she would even consider another team. There were others who said Jackson is entitled to make the right business decisions for herself (which is correct) and screw loyalty.

Regardless of how one feels about that old-fashioned sentiment loyalty, Jackson needs to get off her butt right now and pick a team. It’s not fair to fans of either the Storm or the Mercury to keep them wondering this close to the beginning of the season – especially Storm fans. She owes the big-hearted fans of that team some closure and a “thank you” if she leaves, at the very very least.

Yes, players are agents and yes, they shuffle from team to team. But that doesn’t stop fans from getting incredibly attached to their favorites. And Jackson has been the cornerstone of the Storm franchise for almost a decade.

She came to the team in 2001, barely 20, skinny and still slightly awkward. She hadn’t turned into Lauren Jackson yet. But Storm fans stuck with her, cheered her, lavished praise and adoration on her, and watched her grow up before their eyes. Time and time again after a game, Jackson would take the mic and thank “the best fans in the WNBA” for their screaming, which makes Key Arena in Seattle a dreaded place to play for any opponent. Point guard Sue Bird and Jackson are the faces of the Storm.

If this is no longer to be the case, Storm fans deserve more time to start taking it in and figuring out what their team’s identity will be now, after all this time. And Jackson owes them that instead of causing them anxiety because she’s choosing to play the star.

Lauren Jackson, you’re a big-time international player, but that doesn’t give you license to treat your fans like crap. Be a woman, step up and choose a team. Now.

Don’t be a jerk.

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