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That's right, her best pal decided to study abroad in Sydney for a semester. She packed up and shipped out . . . and never came back. The last Mary heard from her she had married a random Australian guy -- her gay friend Simon -- and gained some sort of citizenship over there.
So we decided to send Mary to talk to the Aussie, ask her a few questions -- 10 Burning Questions, to be exact -- and find out the scoop on the enigmatic Land Down Under.
Crikey! With a résumé like that, you knew Ms. Jackson would not be taking any codswallop from anyone. But Mary refused to be thrown on the barbie -- not this time. The little bugger held her own. Here's how the conversation went, mates . . .
1. First of all, is "Foster's" really Australian for beer?
Lauren Jackson: Only in America.
Sometimes. Some people do. Not me, I drink VB -- Victoria Bitter.
2. Can you explain Australian Rules football to me?
Uhhh, the whole game?
Yeah, you know, just give me a quick run-down.
Umm. Well . . . Okay, basically, they kick and catch . . . and kick and catch . . . and kick and catch, and finally the ball goes through the goal posts. That's really all you need to know.
3. Do you like Vegemite or is that just a big joke?
Noo. We Australians REALLY like it. I love it. It's a comfort food -- or a comfort spread I should say -- and we all stick by it. So don't go knockin' it!
Okay, but I've heard people compare it to motor oil, anchovies and salty tar.
Well, it is a little salty, but it's a wonderful spread. It goes with anything, actually. I eat it all alone.
I'm telling you, it's wonderful. Try it.
Maybe. Do they serve that stuff at Outback Steakhouse?
I don't know. I've never heard of it.
You've never heard of Outback Steakhouse?
No. I'm Australian. I don't know.
Well, it's this restaurant with steaks and stuff where the waiters dress all Australian and they've got a Kiwi spokesman guy with an accent and . . .
I know what the Outback is. I'm just teasing you. There's one in Seattle. The girls are always talking about it, but I've never been. They don't really have these in Australia, you know. I've never seen one, anyway. I went to one in Japan once. It was nice. The food was lovely, but it's not my favorite restaurant. I've never even been to one in the States. They aren't really Australian. I'd rather go to the Australian pub, something genuine.
Alright then. We'll just throw that myth on the barbie.
4. I know you have some tattoos, what are they? Kangaroos or something?
I hear koalas can be vicious at times.
So what's the best thing about Australia that
My favorite pub. I miss it. Back home, it's the real deal. Sort of like the authentic Outback, I guess. It's wonderful. Australia is amazing. It's everything. It's just a beautiful country with lovely people -- and great shopping.
I hear you enjoy the surfing over there, too.
Oh yes! The surfing. It's lovely.
If you could get paid the same amount for playing basketball or for surfing, which would you choose?
5. What would winning the MVP Award mean to you?
It would mean a lot to me. But if I don't win it, I won't be too upset. If one of the other girls wins . . . I mean, I probably will be a little upset. Aww, you know what I mean. I'm not going to hurt myself or anything.
6. What's the best part about being a professional athlete?
First and foremost, it's the people you meet. Then the basketball. Playing basketball night in and night out -- and loving it. I love it. Not everybody has the opportunity to do this. I love it. I'm just in such a lucky situation. A lot of the girls on my team are my closest friends, and my coaches are awesome. I'm just in a very easy position to be happy.
What's the best part about being 6-foot-5?
The best is certainly the basketball advantage. But it's constantly a struggle to find clothes that fit.
Speaking of clothes that fit, how bout those Australian national team catsuits?!
Oh, man. They are trying to get away from those, actually. I did not like those things.
C'mon, those would sell tickets!
Yeah. If the WNBA was really trying to sex up the sport, they would put us in those body suits.
Should female ballers show off their sexy side?
Well, female athletes really are beautiful. There are a lot of times when we are going out -- tall, fit women -- we get dressed up and we look beautiful and we're mistaken for models. We've got great bodies and we're female -- that's sexy. That's not using sex to sell the sport, that's natural. Naturally gorgeous.
Just like the men, on the court we're athletes. But off of it, we're sexy people with nice bodies and personalities of our own. If you've got it, flaunt it. You can't just put us in a little box because we're athletes.
Yeah! Oh, my. Okay, I went up for a rebound and my fingers got caught in her weave -- but it's not like I saw what my hand was caught on. I didn't know what it was. If I saw it, I would have just been like, "Oh, my finger is stuck in her hair."
Anyway, I kinda freaked out and quickly moved my hand to get it out of there, and her hair came with it. I screamed and threw her hair on the floor and then realized that it was, of course, only a hair extension. I guess it wasn't in tight enough, or whatever. She just picked it up and threw it into the media. We were laughing about it.
8. How would you describe your teammate/Page 2 legend Sue Bird?
Sue is just an awesome person. Really genuine, really down to earth. She is a very cool girl who I am glad to know. She is also the best dancer on the team, without a doubt. She has a lot of fun.
Who gets the Mark Madsen awkward dancing award on your team?
All 6-5 of you, eh?
You said it.
What are your thoughts on the Sue Bird/Seattle radio show "spanking bet?"
It seemed like a pretty harmless comment.
Harmless! Yes, that's the word for it, mate. It was harmless and stupid and it became a big deal for no reason. That's not what Sue is about. I think the person responsible apologized to her, eventually. Poor Sue, she didn't mean for any of that to happen.
9. Who's your favorite actress?
An Aussie, how shocking. Let me guess, your favorite actor is Russell Crowe.
No! I don't just pick them for that reason. I've got a lot of favorite actors. They are all so cute. Umm . . . My favorite, though, is . . . Mel Gibson.
Oh, c'mon, he grew up in Oz!
Yeah, I know. I'm Australian, what do you want?
What's in your CD player right now? The Vines? Savage Garden? INXS? The Bee Gees?
10. Last question. Can you explain
(Singing) . . . "I come from a land down under . . . "
Ha-ha!! That's it! One song, that's all there is to it.