WASHINGTON - MAY 5: Tiffany Jackson #3 of the New York Liberty drives to the basket during the WNBA preseason game against the Washington Mystics on May 5, 2010 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The Mystics won 65-60. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2010 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

During Tiffany Jackson’s years with the New York Liberty, I always enjoyed watching her rebound. It was like a dance. You wouldn’t even notice her, but then she would pop up and grab the rebound, often changing the flow of the game. She wasn’t a player who got an enormous amount of fanfare during her seasons (2007–10) with the Liberty, but she was always a fierce contributor.

Jackson passed away on Oct. 3 at the age of 37 after a seven-year battle with breast cancer. In the days after the tragic news broke, there was an outpouring of affection and admiration on social media from former teammates, coaches, opponents and friends.

Megan Duffy, who is in her fourth year as head women’s basketball coach at Marquette University, played for the New York Liberty in the 2008 season. It was Jackson’s second season in the WNBA, and she welcomed the rookies onto the team.

“I remember her spirit, that smile on her face,” said Duffy. “She was tough as nails. Had a swagger and an aura about her as a young player. I remember how talented she was coming into the league. Some of the things that come to mind are she was a great teammate, she worked hard.

“An overall great teammate and even better person,” she added. “Great personality, funny. We had a good group. I remember having a lot of fun navigating the pro waters together.”

In recent years, Duffy, who began her coaching career in 2009 as an assistant coach at St. John’s University, saw that Jackson had gotten into coaching. Jackson spent two years as an assistant coach at her alma mater, University of Texas, and just this past April was named head coach at Wiley College, an HBCU school in Texas. Wiley will honor Jackson at the first women’s basketball home game of the season.

“I think we’re all driven and we’ve had good experiences as players,” said Duffy. “If you get into the coaching side, [you know] how much you can impact young women. I know for a fact she did.”

The Liberty traded Jackson, a 6-foot-3 forward, to the Tulsa Shock during the 2010 WNBA season. She remained with the Shock throughout its time in Tulsa, including the breakthrough 2015 season when the team finally earned a playoff spot, missing only the 2012 season when she gave birth to son Marley.

The team subsequently relocated to Dallas and became the Wings, but Jackson did not play in 2016 after being diagnosed with breast cancer. In remission, she returned to the court for the 2017 WNBA season, playing with the Los Angeles Sparks. She announced her retirement in 2018.

Jackson paid a visit to the Liberty during the 2021 season when she joined a group of former players for a “family and friends” day at Barclays Center. It was a joyful reunion, and longtime Liberty chaplain Yvette Hamilton was thrilled to see Jackson, who had faithfully attended pregame chapel throughout her time in New York.

“She was a good listener,” said Hamilton. “She would faithfully come to chapel. Never missed one. On occasion, she would either be the first one there or the last one to go. … Always a smile. Always bubbly. Attentive when it came to chapel.

“I nicknamed her Lady Tiff because that’s how she operated, like a lady,” she added. “When you watched her play, she was always going to give you a good game. She was definitely a hustler. Even if her game was a little off, she continued to hustle. When she wasn’t playing you would always hear her encouraging the other girls. It was always a selfless act.”

Cathrine Kraayeveld played for the Liberty from 2005–09. She fondly recalls Jackson as a teammate and enjoyed reconnecting with her at last year’s reunion. Even though they weren’t extremely close, she remembers them having a great time.

“We were always laughing and having fun,” said Kraayeveld. “Tiffany always had a smile on her face, always in a good mood, super kind and sweet to everybody. That team, we got along so well.

“We got to experience Madison Square Garden,” she added. “I vividly remember this one picture. We were in a huddle, me and her looking at each other, talking and laughing. We both had these huge smiles on our faces. That’s how I remember her. I don’t know that I ever really saw her mad, even when we weren’t playing that well. We always tried to keep it lighthearted. There are so many fun memories and good times with teammates.

“I feel for her son. I have two little kids. It makes you appreciate the time you do have and what you’ve been blessed with. I feel fortunate to be one of her teammates and to have that experience with her.”

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