Lauren Jackson shows off her bronze medal during victory ceremony at the North Greenwich Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games REUTERS//Mike Segar

Six time international player of the year and Australian legend Lauren Jackson on Thursday announced her devastating retirement from basketball, citing a long history of injuries that have left the star with no choice but to ‘hang up the sneakers’.

“Today I’m announcing my retirement from the love of my life - basketball. It took me all over the world, gave me friendships that will last forever, so thank you for everyone for being here”.

Unfortunately for Australia and the Opal’s, Jackson’s untimely and regretful retirement rules her of the 2016 Rio Olympics later this year.

Speaking on ‘The Project’ last night, Jackson expressed her heartache of leaving the game.

“I definitely didn't end my career the way I wanted to and I feel like it was cut short.

“It’s been really really hard, but in saying that I can't believe what I've achieved and it’s going to take a little bit of time for me to look back and really reflect.

“The things that I've done, I don't think many people could match them and I've been plagued with injury my entire career so I feel pretty lucky.

“I’ve got great family, I've got great friends I’ll be fine, I'm good,” she added.

The internationally recognised star, who has played for clubs in South Korea, Spain, Russia and China, had an unfortunate last couple of years full of setbacks.

A meniscal root tear in 2014, a torn ACL in December 2015, and an infection in her knee joint in January this year set Jackson back a further six weeks from returning to play, with doctors finally confessing just last week that, “there’s no way [you will play professionally again]”.

While speaking out about her injuries, the four time Australian Olympic medalist also commented on the unfair gap between men and women’s sports, stating “men make so much money in one season whereas women have to play twelve months of the year and that’s where our bodies kind of struggle”.

“Everything that could have possibly gone wrong, went wrong, and every time [I] tried to make a comeback something else happened,” Jackson said about her rehabilitation journey.

Luckily for Jackson the half knee replacement she will be undergoing later this year will allow her to play sport pain-free again, something she says she is “really excited about”.

Other Australian sports stars took to twitter to congratulate Jackson on an amazing career including Cathy Freeman, NBA’s Matthew Dellavedova, and the Matildas’ Kyah Simon. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also added to the chorus of praises.

The Opals have been placed in Group A for the 2016 Rio Olympics, which will see them go up against Brazil and Japan, as well as a further three unknown qualifiers in the pool stage. Former Olympic gold medalists the USA have been placed in Group B, a lucky draw for the Opals which Jackson “truly believes” will make it out on top this year.