For a while, Lisa Leslie was arguably the best women’s basketball player on the planet. She put up jaw-dropping high school numbers, dominated in college, and became a foundational star not only of the WNBA, but of the powerhouse United States Olympic team.
But a few years into her professional career, a new contender emerged: Lauren Jackson, who first battled Leslie as the teenaged star of perennial Olympic runner-up Australia, and then as her WNBA counterpart with the Seattle Storm, rival of Leslie’s Los Angeles Sparks.
Leslie and Jackson’s rivalry included dirty play, open feuding, and some good, old-fashioned gritty basketball ... but it also included one extremely weird incident. In the 2000 Olympic gold medal game, Jackson swung her arm in a strange way that removed Leslie’s ponytail extension from the back of her head. While the beef had more important moments, that bizarre one generated the most conversation and controversy. So ... was it intentional? Jackson and Leslie have never agreed on this topic, so we’ve gotta investigate.