Basketball lost one of its all-time exceptional talents when Maya Moore announced her hiatus from the WNBA.
Moore won two national titles at UConn and is a four-time WNBA champion with the Minnesota Lynx. She was the 2013 WNBA Finals MVP, the 2014 WNBA MVP, and is a two-time Olympic gold medalist.
Around this time last year, in a piece called “The Shift” on The Players Tribune, she announced that she would be sitting out the 2019 WNBA season:
My focus in 2019 will not be on professional basketball, but will instead be on the people in my family, as well as on investing my time in some ministry dreams that have been stirring in my heart for many years.
Moore started a non-profit called “Win With Justice” and began active work in criminal justice reform.
Her primary efforts went towards Jonathan Irons, a man serving a 50-year prison sentence who was wrongfully convicted of a 1998 shooting in Missouri.
Irons’ case was overturned by the judge last summer, releasing him from his prison sentence.
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Not long after, Moore and Irons announced their marriage.
Maya Moore got this man out of prison and then he put a ring on it. Black love Twitter about to be on fire today. pic.twitter.com/3ToQGLD16Y
— Martin S. (@marsoaries) September 16, 2020
Moore isn’t yet officially retired, but she has announced that she will also sit out this upcoming WNBA season. She told The New York Times:
“I’m in a really good place right now with my life, and I don’t want to change anything,” Moore, an eight-year Minnesota Lynx forward, told The New York Times in a telephone interview this week from her home in Atlanta. “Basketball has not been foremost in my mind. I’ve been able to rest, and connect with people around me, actually be in their presence after all of these years on the road. And I’ve been able to be there for Jonathan.”
One of Moore’s Minnesota teammates, Seimone Augustus, was recently on the Knuckleheads Podcast with Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson.
She shared her initial reaction to Moore’s announcement when she found out:
Yeah, the selfishness in me is like ‘Man, I wish that she would come back but, you know, the humanist in me is like, my soul within is like, she has found her passion and purpose. And now we know, you know, her and Mr. Irons are actually together. So, that makes sense now, but it was hard to digest at the time because it was like ‘Yo, we can possibly get one more.’ But, you know, when that calling calls and it’s that time to fulfill your purpose, then I understood it. Obviously she had conversations with all of us, and the starting five, to explain the journey she was about to go on. And at that point, all we can do is respect it and then support her on our way.
We still don’t know if or when Maya Moore will return to basketball. She told NYT she’s not ready to formally retire yet, saying “it’s not the time for me”.
She’s still being a champion in society in the meantime.